Cancer incidence statistics

Cases

New cases of cancer, 2012, UK

Common cancers

More than half of new cases of cancer are breast, lung, prostate or bowel cancer, 2012, UK

Age

More than a third of cancers are diagnosed in people aged 75 and over, 2010-2012, UK

  • More than 338,000 people were diagnosed with cancer in 2012 in the UK, that's around 928 people every day.
  • Every two minutes someone in the UK is diagnosed with cancer.
  • Overall cancer incidence rates in Great Britain have increased by more than a quarter since the late-1970s, with almost this entire rise occurring before the late 1990s.
  • Cancer incidence rates in Great Britain have risen by 15% in males and by 35% in females since the late-1970s.
  • Incidence rates in the UK are lower than in the European Union in males, but higher in females.
  • Incidence rates in the UK are lower than in the More Developed Regions of the world in males, but higher in females. For both sexes, rates in the UK are higher than in the Less Developed Regions of the world.

See more cancer incidence statistics for all cancers combined for the UK

  • Breast, lung, prostate and bowel cancers together account for over half of all new cancers each year.
  • There have been large increases in the incidence of many cancers strongly linked to lifestyle, such as kidney, liver, skin (malignant melanoma, oral and uterine (womb).
  • In males over the last decade in the UK stomach cancer incidence has decreased by almost a third, and lung cancer incidence has decreased by around a tenth.
  • In females over the last decade in the UK, stomach cancer incidence has decreased by more than a quarter, and ovarian cancer incidence has decreased by around a tenth.

See more cancer incidence statistics for the most common cancers in the UK

  • For the majority of cancer types, incidence is generally higher in people living in more deprived areas, particularly for smoking-related cancers such as laryngeal, lung and oral cavity cancers.
  • For a small number of cancer types, incidence is higher in people living in less deprived areas, including breast, prostate and malignant melanoma skin cancer because of screening uptake and lifestyle factors.
  • There are around 15,000 extra cases of cancer, per year, in England, because of socio-economic variation.

See more cancer incidence statistics for all cancers combined by socio-economic group

The latest incidence statistics available for all cancers in the UK are 2012.

The ICD codes Open a glossary item for all cancers combined and incidence by age are ICD-10 C00-C97 excluding C44 which includes all malignant neoplasms excluding non-melanoma skin cancer (NMSC). NMSCs are often excluded from cancer incidence statistics because they are extremely common and registration is known to be incomplete.

ICD codes for incidence of common cancers are detailed within the types of cancer content.

European Age-Standardised Rates were calculated using the 1976 European Standard Population (ESP) unless otherwise stated as calculated with ESP2013. ASRs calculated with ESP2013 are not comparable with ASRs calculated with ESP1976.

Prevalence statistics were estimated from UK incidence 2008 data.

Socio-economic variation statistics were calculated using incidence data for three time periods: 1996-2000, 2001-2005 and 2006-2010. The deprivation quintiles were calculated using the Income domain scores from the Index of Multiple Deprivation (IMD) from the following years: 2004, 2007 and 2010. Full details on the data and methodology can be found in the Cancer by Deprivation in England (NCIN) report.

Other comparative statistics

Citation

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Credit us as authors by referencing Cancer Research UK as the primary source. Suggested styles are:

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Acknowledgements

We would like to acknowledge the essential work of the cancer registries in the United Kingdom and Ireland Association of Cancer Registries, without which there would be no data.

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