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Thyroid cancer mortality statistics

Mortality statistics for thyroid cancer by country in the UK, age and trends over time are presented here. 

Find out more about the coding and counting of this data

By country in the UK

Thyroid cancer accounts for 0.2% of all deaths from cancer in the UK (2012).1-3 Thyroid cancer accounts for 0.2% of all males deaths from cancer in the UK (2012), and also accounts for 0.2% of all female cancer deaths in the UK (2012).

In 2012, there were 373 deaths from thyroid cancer in the UK (Table 2.1): 143 (38%) in men and 230 (62%) in women, giving a male:female ratio of around 6:10.1-3 The crude mortality rate shows that there are 0.5 thyroid cancer deaths for every 100,000 males in the UK, and 0.7 for every 100,000 females.

The European age-standardised mortality rates (AS rates) do not differ significantly between the constituent countries of the UK for males or females (Table 2.1).1-3

Table 2.1: Thyroid Cancer (C73), Number of Deaths, Crude and European Age-Standardised (AS) Mortality Rates per 100,000 Population, UK, 2012

England Wales Scotland Northern Ireland UK
Male Deaths 116 9 14 4 143
Crude Rate 0.4 0.6 0.5 0.4 0.5
AS Rate 0.3 0.5 0.4 0.4 0.3
AS Rate - 95% LCL 0.3 0.2 0.2 0.0 0.3
AS Rate - 95% UCL 0.4 0.8 0.6 0.8 0.4
Female Deaths 193 11 15 11 230
Crude Rate 0.7 0.7 0.5 1.2 0.7
AS Rate 0.4 0.4 0.3 0.9 0.4
AS Rate - 95% LCL 0.4 0.2 0.1 0.4 0.4
AS Rate - 95% UCL 0.5 0.7 0.4 1.4 0.5
Persons Deaths 309 20 29 15 373
Crude Rate 0.6 0.7 0.5 0.8 0.6
AS Rate 0.4 0.5 0.3 0.6 0.4
AS Rate - 95% LCL 0.3 0.3 0.2 0.3 0.3
AS Rate - 95% UCL 0.4 0.6 0.5 1.0 0.4

Download this table XLS (34KB) PPT (165KB) PDF (39KB)

95% LCL and 95% UCL are the 95% lower and upper confidence limits around the AS Rate

Analysis of thyroid cancer mortality rates throughout the UK shows very little variation between health boundaries for both males and females.4

section reviewed 08/09/14
section updated 08/09/14

 

By age

Thyroid cancer mortality is strongly related to age, with the highest mortality rates being in older men and women. In the UK between 2010 and 2012, an average of 56% of thyroid cancer deaths were in men and women aged 75 years and over, and around four in ten (39%) were in those aged 80 years and over (Figure 2.1).1-3

Age-specific mortality rates rise gradually from around age 40-44 and subsequently more sharply from age 65-69, with the highest rates in the 85+ age group in both sexes. Mortality rates are similar for males and females at all age groups (Figure 2.1).1-3

Figure 2.1: Thyroid Cancer (C73), Average Number of Deaths per Year and Age-Specific Mortality Rates, UK, 2010-2012

deaths_crude_thyroid.swf

Download this chart XLS (58KB) PPT (138KB) PDF (74KB)

section reviewed 08/09/14
section updated 08/09/14

 

 

Trends over time

Thyroid cancer mortality rates have decreased overall in the UK since the early 1970s (Figure 2.2).1-3  For males, European AS mortality rates decreased by 32% between 1971-1973 and 2010-2012. The decline is bigger for females, with rates decreasing by 58% between 1971-1973 and 2010-2012. This decrease in mortality rates is despite rising incidence rates, and reflects overall improvements in survival which may be attributed in part to earlier diagnosis of thyroid cancer as a result of the widespread use of ultrasound and fine needle biopsies.7,8 Over the last decade (between 2001-2003 and 2010-2012), European AS mortality rates have remained stable for both males and females.

Figure 2.2: Thyroid Cancer (C73), European Age-Standardised Mortality Rates, UK, 1971-2012

mort_asr_uk_thyroid.swf

Download this chart XLS (60KB) PPT (138KB) PDF (47KB)

For males, thyroid cancer mortality rates have decreased overall for some of the broad age groups in the UK since the early 1970s (Figure 2.3).1-3 The largest decreases have been in men aged 40-54, with European AS mortality rates decreasing by 52% between 1971-1973 and 2010-2012. For men aged 55-69, mortality rates fell by 41% over the same time period.

Figure 2.3: Thyroid Cancer (C73), European Age-Standardised Mortality Rates, by Age, Males, UK, 1971-2012

mort_asr_age_m_thyroid.swf

Download this chart XLS (66KB) PPT (146KB) PDF (44KB)

For females, thyroid cancer mortality rates have decreased overall for all of the broad age groups aged 40 and above in the UK since the early 1970s (Figure 2.3).1-3 The largest decreases have been in women aged 55-69, with European AS mortality rates decreasing by around 65% between 1971-1973 and 2010-2012.

Figure 2.4: Thyroid Cancer (C73), European Age-Standardised Mortality Rates, by Age, Females, UK, 1971-2012

mort_asr_age_f_thyroid.swf

Download this chart XLS (62KB) PPT (136KB) PDF (44KB)

section reviewed 08/09/14
section updated 08/09/14

In Europe and worldwide

There were around 6,300 deaths from thyroid cancer in Europe in 2012 (0.4% of  total cancer deaths). In Europe (2012), the highest World age-standardised mortality rates for thyroid cancer are in Iceland for men and Russia for women; the lowest rates are in Malta and Montenegro for men and Luxembourg for women. UK thyroid cancer mortality rates are estimated to be the 6th lowest in males in Europe, and 9th lowest in females.5 These data are broadly in line with Europe-specific data available elsewhere.6

There were around 37,800 deaths from thyroid cancer worldwide in 2012 (0.5% of total cancer deaths). Thyroid cancer mortality rates are highest in Melanesia and lowest in Northern Europe, but this partly reflects varying data quality worldwide.5

Use our interactive map to explore the data for thyroid cancer.

section reviewed 27/05/14
section updated 27/05/14

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References for thyroid cancer mortality

  1. Data were provided by the Office for National Statistics on request, January 2014. Similar data can be found here: http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/publications/all-releases.html?definition=tcm%3A77-27475.
  2. Data were provided by ISD Scotland on request, March 2014. Similar data can be found here: http://gro-scotland.gov.uk/statistics/theme/vital-events/general/ref-tables/index.html.
  3. Data were provided by the Northern Ireland Cancer Registry on request, December 2013. Similar data can be found here: http://www.nisra.gov.uk/demography/default.asp22.htm.
  4. European age-standardised mortality rate of thyroid cancer by local health authority in the UK, 2009-2011. These data were extracted from the UK Cancer Information Service, version 4.5b 001 on 29/10/2013.
  5. Ferlay J, Soerjomataram I, Ervik M, et al. GLOBOCAN 2012 v1.0, Cancer Incidence and Mortality Worldwide: IARC CancerBase No. 11 [Internet]. Lyon, France: International Agency for Research on Cancer; 2013. Available from: http://globocan.iarc.fr, accessed December 2013.
  6. Ferlay J, Steliarova-Foucher E, Lortet-Tieulent J, et al.Cancer incidence and mortality patterns in Europe: Estimates for 40 countries in 2012. European Journal of Cancer (2013) 49, 1374-1403.
  7. Olaleye et al. Increasing incidence of differentiated thyroid cancer in South East England: 1987-2006. European archives of oto-rhino-laryngology, 2011.
  8. National Cancer Intelligence Network. Thyroid cancer – trends by sex, age and histological type. NCIN 2012.
Updated: 8 September 2014