Cancer incidence by age

Age

Peak rate of cancer cases, 2013-2015, UK

 

Trend over time

Age group with greatest increase in incidence rates since the early 1990s, UK

 

Incidence rates are strongly related to age for all cancers combined, with the highest incidence rates being in older people. In the UK in 2013-2015, on average each year more than a third (36%) of new cases were in people aged 75 and over.[1-4]

Age-specific incidence rates rise steeply from around age 55-59. The highest rates are in the 85 to 89 age group for males and females.

Incidence rates are significantly lower in males than females in the younger age groups and significantly higher in males than females in the older age groups. The gap is widest at age 90+, when the age-specific incidence rate is 1.7 times higher in males than females.

All Cancers (C00-C97 Excl. C44), Average Number of New Cases per Year and Age-Specific Incidence Rates per 100,000 Population, UK, 2013-2015

95% LCL and 95% UCL are the 95% lower and upper confidence limits Open a glossary item around the AS Rate Open a glossary item
 

Children aged 0-14, and young people aged 15-24, each account for less than one per cent of all new cancer cases in the UK (2013-2015).[1-4] Adults aged 25-49 contribute a tenth (10%) of all new cancer cases, with twice as many cases in females as males in this age group.[1-4]

Adults aged 50-74 account for more than half (53%) of all new cancer cases, and elderly people aged 75+ account for more than a third (36%), with slightly more cases in males than females in both age groups. There are more people aged 50-74 than aged 75+ in the population overall, hence the number of cancer cases is higher in 50-74s, but incidence rates are higher in 75+s.

References

  1. Data were provided by the Office for National Statistics on request, July 2017. Similar data can be found here: https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/healthandsocialcare/conditionsanddiseases/bulletins/cancerregistrationstatisticsengland/previousReleases.
  2. Data were provided by ISD Scotland on request, August 2017. Similar data can be found here: http://www.isdscotland.org/Health-Topics/Cancer/Publications.
  3. Data were provided by the Welsh Cancer Intelligence and Surveillance Unit, Health Intelligence Division, Public Health Wales on request, October 2017. Similar data can be found here: http://www.wcisu.wales.nhs.uk.
  4. Data were provided by the Northern Ireland Cancer Registry on request, July 2017. Similar data can be found here: http://www.qub.ac.uk/research-centres/nicr/.

About this data

Data is for UK, 2013-2015, ICD-10 C00-97 Excl. C44.

Last reviewed:

The five most common cancers in males and females vary considerably by age group, with particular differences in the cancer types diagnosed in children, young people, compared with the types diagnosed in older people.[1-7]

The Five Most Commonly Diagnosed Cancers in Males, Numbers of New Cases, by Age, UK, 2013-2015

This chart excludes non-melanoma skin cancer because of known under-reporting. For the 25-49 age group, data in this chart do not sum to the all cancers combined total provided elsewhere, because 'Brain, other CNS (central nervous system) and intracranial' includes tumours that are malignant, benign and of uncertain or unknown behaviour but only the malignant tumours are included in 'all cancers combined' total. Percentages may not sum to 100% due to rounding. SNS: Sympathetic nervous system. Brain tumours: brain, other central nervous system (CNS) and intracranial tumours, including malignant, benign and uncertain or unknown behaviour tumours. Germ cell tumours e.g. testicular germ cell tumours. Carcinomas e.g. thyroid, cervix, bowel and ovary tumours, Children: cases 2006-2008, Great Britain. Teenagers and young adults: cases 2000-2009, UK.
 

In children in Great Britain, leukaemia is the most common cancer, accounting for almost a third (31% in boys and 29% in girls) of all cases in 2006-2008.[5,6]

In male young people in the UK, germ cell tumours are the most common cancers, accounting for more than a quarter (27%) of all cases in 2000-2009.[7]

In males aged 25-49 in the UK, testicular cancer is the most common cancer, accounting for around 3 in 20 (14%) of all cases in 2013-2015.[1-4]

In males aged 50-74 in the UK, prostate cancer is the most common cancer, accounting for almost a third (30%) of all cases in 2013-2015.[1-4

In males aged 75+ in the UK, prostate cancer is the most common cancer, accounting for a quarter (25%) of all cases in 2013-2015.[1-4]

References

  1. Data were provided by the Office for National Statistics on request, July 2017. Similar data can be found here: https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/healthandsocialcare/conditionsanddiseases/bulletins/cancerregistrationstatisticsengland/previousReleases.
  2. Data were provided by ISD Scotland on request, August 2017August 2017. Similar data can be found here: http://www.isdscotland.org/Health-Topics/Cancer/Publications.
  3. Data were provided by the Welsh Cancer Intelligence and Surveillance Unit, Health Intelligence Division, Public Health Wales on request, October 2017. Similar data can be found here: http://www.wcisu.wales.nhs.uk.
  4. Data were provided by the Northern Ireland Cancer Registry on request, July 2017. Similar data can be found here: http://www.qub.ac.uk/research-centres/nicr/.
  5. Childhood Cancer Research Group. (Accessed December 2012)
  6. Stiller CA. Childhood cancer in Britain: Incidence, survival, mortality. Oxford: Oxford University Press; 2007.
  7. Data were provided by North West Cancer Intelligence Service (NWCIS) on request.

About this data

Data is for UK, 2013-2015, ICD-10 C00-97 Excl. C44.

Last reviewed:

The five most common cancers in males and females vary considerably by age group, with particular differences in the cancer types diagnosed in children, young people, compared with the types diagnosed in older people.[1-6]

The Five Most Commonly Diagnosed Cancers in Females, Numbers of New Cases, by Age, UK, 2013-2015

This chart excludes non-melanoma skin cancer because of known under-reporting. For the 25-49 age group, data in this chart do not sum to the all cancers combined total provided elsewhere, because 'Brain, other CNS (central nervous system) and intracranial' includes tumours that are malignant, benign and of uncertain or unknown behaviour but only the malignant tumours are included in 'all cancers combined' total. Percentages may not sum to 100% due to rounding. SNS: Sympathetic nervous system. Brain tumours: brain, other central nervous system (CNS) and intracranial tumours, including malignant, benign and uncertain or unknown behaviour tumours. Carcinomas e.g. thyroid, cervix, bowel and ovary tumours, Children: cases 2006-2008, Great Britain. Teenagers and young adults: cases 2000-2009, UK.
 

In children in Great Britain, leukaemia is the most common cancer, accounting for almost a third (31% in boys and 29% in girls) of all cases in 2006-2008.[5,6]

In female young people in the UK, carcinomas are the most common cancers, accounting for almost a third (31%) of all cases in 2000-2009.[7]

In females aged 25-49 in the UK, breast cancer is the most common cancer, accounting for more than 4 in 10 (44%) of all cases in 2013-2015.[1-4]

In females aged 50-74 in the UK, breast cancer is the most common cancer, accounting for around a third (34%) of all cases in 2013-2015.[1-4]

In females aged 75+ in the UK, breast cancer is the most common cancer, accounting for more than a fifth (22%) of all cases in 2013-2015.[1-4]

References

  1. Data were provided by the Office for National Statistics on request, July 2017. Similar data can be found here: https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/healthandsocialcare/conditionsanddiseases/bulletins/cancerregistrationstatisticsengland/previousReleases.
  2. Data were provided by ISD Scotland on request, August 2017. Similar data can be found here: http://www.isdscotland.org/Health-Topics/Cancer/Publications.
  3. Data were provided by the Welsh Cancer Intelligence and Surveillance Unit, Health Intelligence Division, Public Health Wales on request, October 2017. Similar data can be found here: http://www.wcisu.wales.nhs.uk.
  4. Data were provided by the Northern Ireland Cancer Registry on request, July 2017. Similar data can be found here: http://www.qub.ac.uk/research-centres/nicr/.
  5. Childhood Cancer Research Group. (Accessed December 2012)
  6. Stiller CA. Childhood cancer in Britain: Incidence, survival, mortality. Oxford: Oxford University Press; 2007.
  7. Data were provided by North West Cancer Intelligence Service (NWCIS) on request.

About this data

Data is for UK, 2013-2015, ICD-10 C00-97 Excl. C44.

Last reviewed:

All cancers combined incidence rates have increased overall in all broad age groups in males and females combined in the UK since the early 1990s.[1-4] Rates in 0-24s have increased by 24%, in 25-49s have increased by 20%, in 50-59s have increased by 13%, in 60-69s have increased by 15%, in 70-79s have increased by 11%, and in 80+s have increased by 9%.

All Cancers Excluding Non-Melanoma Skin Cancer (ICD-10 C00-97 Excl C44), European Age-Standardised Incidence Rates, By Age, UK, 1993-2015

All cancers for people aged 0-24 includes all malignant tumours (ICD-10 codes: C00-C97) and all benign/uncertain or unknown behaviour brain, other central nervous system and intracranial tumours (ICD-10 codes: D32-D33, D35.2-D35.4, D42-D43 and D44.3-D44.5). All cancers for all other age groups do not include non-melanoma skin cancer (ICD-10 codes: C44) or benign/uncertain or unknown behaviour brain, other central nervous system and intracranial tumours.

For most cancer types, incidence trends largely reflect changing prevalence of risk factors and improvements in diagnosis and data recording. Recent incidence trends are influenced by risk factor prevalence in years past, and trends by age group reflect risk factor exposure in birth cohorts.

References

  1. Data were provided by the Office for National Statistics on request, July 2017. Similar data can be found here: https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/healthandsocialcare/conditionsanddiseases/bulletins/cancerregistrationstatisticsengland/previousReleases.
  2. Data were provided by ISD Scotland on request, August 2017. Similar data can be found here: http://www.isdscotland.org/Health-Topics/Cancer/Publications.
  3. Data were provided by the Welsh Cancer Intelligence and Surveillance Unit, Health Intelligence Division, Public Health Wales on request, October 2017. Similar data can be found here: http://www.wcisu.wales.nhs.uk.
  4. Data were provided by the Northern Ireland Cancer Registry on request, July 2017. Similar data can be found here: http://www.qub.ac.uk/research-centres/nicr/.

About this data

Data is for UK, 1993-2015

All cancers for people aged 0-24 includes all malignant tumours (ICD-10 C00-C97) and all benign/uncertain or unknown behaviour brain, other central nervous system and intracranial tumours (ICD-10 D32-D33, D35.2-D35.4, D42-D43 and D44.3-D44.5). 

All cancers for all other age groups do not include non-melanoma skin cancer or benign/uncertain or unknown behaviour brain, other central nervous system and intracranial tumours ICD-10 C00-97 Excl C44.

Last reviewed:

Local Cancer Statistics

Local level cancer statistics; searchable by a local area or constituency in England.

Interested in an overview for Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland?

Cancer stats explained

See information and explanations on terminology used for statistics and reporting of cancer, and the methods used to calculate some of our statistics.

Citation

You are welcome to reuse this Cancer Research UK content for your own work.
Credit us as authors by referencing Cancer Research UK as the primary source. Suggested styles are:

Web content: Cancer Research UK, full URL of the page, Accessed [month] [year].
Publications: Cancer Research UK ([year of publication]), Name of publication, Cancer Research UK.
Graphics (when reused unaltered): Credit: Cancer Research UK.
Graphics (when recreated with differences): Based on a graphic created by Cancer Research UK.

When Cancer Research UK material is used for commercial reasons, we encourage a donation to our life-saving research.
Send a cheque payable to Cancer Research UK to: Cancer Research UK, Angel Building, 407 St John Street, London, EC1V 4AD or

Donate online

Acknowledgements

We are grateful to the many organisations across the UK which collect, analyse, and share the data which we use, and to the patients and public who consent for their data to be used. Find out more about the sources which are essential for our statistics.

Rate this page:

Currently rated: 3.3 out of 5 based on 68 votes
Thank you!
We've recently made some changes to the site, tell us what you think

Share this page