Cancer incidence for common cancers

Common cancers

More than half of new cases of cancer are breast, prostate, lung or bowel cancer, 2014, UK

Most common in males

More than half of new cases of cancer in males are prostate, lung or bowel cancer, 2014, UK

Most common in females

More than half of new cases of cancer in females are breast, lung or bowel cancer, 2014, UK

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in the UK, accounting for almost a sixth (15%) of all cases in males and females combined (2014).[1-4] The next most common cancers in UK people are prostate (13%), lung (13%), and bowel (11%). Though there are more than 200 types of cancer, just these four types - breast, prostate, lung and bowel - together account for more than half (53%) of all new cases in the UK (2014).[1-4] The two most common cancer types occur mainly or exclusively in only one sex.

The 20 Most Common Cancers, UK, 2014

This chart excludes non-melanoma skin cancer because of known under-reporting. 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.

References

  1. Data were provided by the Office for National Statistics on request, June 2016. Similar data can be found here: http://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/healthandsocialcare/conditionsanddiseases/bulletins/cancerregistrationstatisticsengland/previousReleases
  2. Data were provided by ISD Scotland on request, May 2016. 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, June 2016. Similar data can be found here: http://www.wcisu.wales.nhs.uk/
  4. Data were provided by the Northern Ireland Cancer Registry on request, May 2016. Similar data can be found here: http://www.qub.ac.uk/research-centres/nicr/

About this data

Data is for UK, 2014, ICD-10 C00-C97 excl. C44

Last reviewed:

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in UK males, accounting for around a quarter (26%) of male cases (2014).[1-4] The next most common cancers in UK males are lung cancer (14%) and bowel cancer (13%). Prostate, lung and bowel cancers together account for more than half (53%) of all new cases in males in the UK. Head and neck, bladder, oesophageal and leukaemia, are among the UK ten most common cancers in males, but not in females.

The Three Most Common Cancers in Males, Percentages of All Cancer Cases Excluding Non-Melanoma Skin Cancer (C00-C97 excl. C44), UK, 2014

Three most common cancers in males

This chart excludes non-melanoma skin cancer because of known under-reporting.

The Ten Most Common Cancers in Males, Number of New Cases UK, 2014

This chart excludes non-melanoma skin cancer because of known under-reporting. 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.

References

  1. Data were provided by the Office for National Statistics on request, June 2016. Similar data can be found here: http://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/healthandsocialcare/conditionsanddiseases/bulletins/cancerregistrationstatisticsengland/previousReleases
  2. Data were provided by ISD Scotland on request, May 2016. Similar data can be found here: http://www.isdscotland.org/Health-Topics/Cancer/Publications/
  3. 3.    Data were provided by the Welsh Cancer Intelligence and Surveillance Unit, Health Intelligence Division, Public Health Wales on request, June 2016. Similar data can be found here: http://www.wcisu.wales.nhs.uk
  4. Data were provided by the Northern Ireland Cancer Registry on request, May 2016. Similar data can be found here: http://www.qub.ac.uk/research-centres/nicr/

About this data

Data is for UK, 2014, ICD-10 C00-C97 excl. C44

Last reviewed:

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in UK females, accounting for almost a third (31%) of all female cases (2014).[1-4] The next most common cancers in UK females are lung cancer (12%) and bowel cancer (10%). Breast, lung and bowel cancers together account for over half (53%) of all new cases in females in the UK. Two of the ten most common cancers in females are sex-specific (uterus and ovary), compared with just one of the ten most common in males (prostate). Brain, other CNS and intracranial tumours and pancreatic cancer are among the ten most common cancers in females, but not in males.

The Three Most Common Cancers in Females, Percentages of All Cancer Cases Excluding Non-Melanoma Skin Cancer (C00-C97 excl. C44), UK, 2014

Three most common cancers in females

3% of all female cancer cases are registered as cancer of unknown primary (CUP).

This chart excludes non-melanoma skin cancer because of known under-reporting.

The 10 Most Common Cancers in Females, Number of New Cases UK, 2014

This chart excludes non-melanoma skin cancer because of known under-reporting. 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.

References

  1. Data were provided by the Office for National Statistics on request, June 2016. Similar data can be found here: http://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/healthandsocialcare/conditionsanddiseases/bulletins/cancerregistrationstatisticsengland/previousReleases
  2. Data were provided by ISD Scotland on request, May 2016. 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, June 2016. Similar data can be found here: http://www.wcisu.wales.nhs.uk
  4. Data were provided by the Northern Ireland Cancer Registry on request, May 2016. Similar data can be found here: http://www.qub.ac.uk/research-centres/nicr/

About this data

Data is for UK, 2014, ICD-10 (C00-C97 excl. C44)

Last reviewed:

Incidence trends over the last decade in the UK vary by cancer type and sex.[1-4] The trends largely reflect changes in prevalence of risk factors, developments in detection methods, or variation in data recording practices.

Thyroid, liver, oral, and kidney cancers, and malignant melanoma, have shown the fastest increases in incidence (within the current 20 most common UK cancers) over the past decade in the UK for both males and females. The size of the increases varies between sexes. But for both males and females, thyroid cancer has shown the fastest increase in incidence, with rates increasing by more than two-thirds over the past decade in the UK.

Stomach and bladder cancers have shown the fastest decreases in incidence (within the current 20 most common UK cancers) over the past decade in the UK for both males and females. The size of the increases varies between sexes. For both males and females, stomach cancer incidence rates have decreased by more than a quarter. 

For lung and oesophageal cancers, and leukaemia, the incidence trend differs between the sexes. In males lung cancer incidence has decreased, while in females it has increased. In males leukaemia incidence has increased, while in females it has remained stable. In females oesophageal cancer incidence has decreased, while in males it has remained stable.

The 20 Most Common Cancers 2013, Percentage Change in European Age-Standardised Three Year Average Incidence Rates, Males, UK, 2002-2004 and 2011-2013

ASR calculated with ESP2013. Not comparable with ASRs calculated with ESP1976.

The 20 Most Common Cancers 2013, Percentage Change in European Age-Standardised Three Year Average Incidence Rates, Females, UK, 2002-2004 and 2011-2013

ASR calculated with ESP2013. Not comparable with ASRs calculated with ESP1976.

References

  1. Data were provided by the Office for National Statistics on request, July 2015. Similar data can be found here: http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/vsob1/cancer-statistics-registrations--england--series-mb1-/index.html
  2. Data were provided by ISD Scotland on request, April 2015. Similar data can be found here: http://www.isdscotland.org/Health-Topics/Cancer/Publications/index.asp
  3. Data were provided by the Welsh Cancer Intelligence and Surveillance Unit on request, February 2015. Similar data can be found here: http://www.wales.nhs.uk/sites3/page.cfm?orgid=242&pid=59080
  4. Data were provided by the Northern Ireland Cancer Registry on request, March 2015. Similar data can be found here: http://www.qub.ac.uk/research-centres/nicr/
Last reviewed:

Incidence rates are projected to rise for most types of cancer in the UK between 2014 and 2035.[1] Among cancer types with rising rates, the size of the overall increase between 2014 and 2035 ranges from 2% (breast cancer) to 74% (thyroid cancer).

For a smaller number of cancer types, incidence rates are projected to fall in the UK between 2014 and 2035. Among cancer types with falling rates, the size of the overall decrease between 2014 and 2035 ranges from 2% (non-Hodgkin lymphoma) to 53% (mesothelioma).

Selected Cancers, Number of New Cases and European Age-Standardised Incidence Rates, Males, UK, 1979, 2014 and 2035

  Age-standardised Rate (per 100,000) Cases
Cancer site 1979 (Observed) 2014 (Observed) 2035 (Projected) % Change 2014-2035 1979 (Observed) 2014 (Observed) 2035 (Projected) % Change 2014-2035
Anus 1.08 1.84 2.18 18.24 160.66 434 684.68 57.76
Bladder 52.12 33.92 21.07 -37.88 7433.60 7301 7531.11 3.15
Bone 1.16 1.01 0.69 -31.35 217.49 256 216.77 -15.33
Bowel 89.64 102.38 86.92 -15.10 12647.73 22827 29356.10 28.60
Brain 12.68 21.08 22.11 4.87 2430.14 5036 6884.30 36.70
Hodgkin Lymphoma 4.03 4.48 4.87 8.86 827.71 1148 1479.68 28.89
Kidney 11.92 34.18 43.88 28.38 1915.17 7778 14258.84 83.32
Larynx 10.21 8.36 6.52 -22.04 1600.86 1920 2099.54 9.35
Leukaemia 17.25 24.14 25.59 6.00 2484.05 5425 8714.08 60.63
Liver 4.46 16.21 23.23 43.27 679.33 3636 7769.55 113.68
Lung 209.80 112.25 97.06 -13.54 32086.76 24767 32874.81 32.74
Melanoma Skin 4.37 33.28 35.42 6.46 785.55 7715 11897.43 54.21
Mesothelioma 1.53 10.54 4.75 -54.98 271.10 2289 1753.23 -23.41
Myeloma 7.82 13.76 15.52 12.76 1163.13 3072 5228.66 70.20
Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma 11.83 32.45 31.56 -2.75 1960.15 7440 10489.40 40.99
Oesophagus 16.41 26.67 25.07 -6.00 2367.11 6019 8365.78 38.99
Oral 12.69 21.38 28.40 32.84 1832.40 5124 8675.81 69.32
Pancreas 25.18 21.71 23.18 6.75 3527.22 4833 7874.14 62.92
Prostate 80.61 208.01 232.54 11.79 9622.24 46689 77348.83 65.67
Stomach 56.85 19.80 15.27 -22.90 8081.66 4353 5220.27 19.92
Testis 3.88 8.88 9.97 12.30 878.64 2406 2920.80 21.40
Thyroid 1.15 3.91 6.93 77.43 201.69 964 2089.44 116.75
Other 52.06 47.87 49.78 3.98 7774.71 10659 16527.69 55.06
All cancer sites 688.75 808.13 812.52 0.54 100949.07 182091 270260.90 48.42

Selected Cancers, Number of New Cases and European Age-Standardised Incidence Rates, Females, UK, 1979, 2014 and 2035

  Age-standardised Rate (per 100,000) Cases
Cancer site 1979 (Observed) 2014 (Observed) 2035 (Projected) % Change 2014-2035 1979 (Observed) 2014 (Observed) 2035 (Projected) % Change 2014-2035
Anus 0.95 3.27 5.11 56.34 196.29 873 1748.81 100.32
Bladder 13.33 9.94 6.87 -30.95 2827.49 2756 2855.27 3.60
Bone 0.75 0.86 1.06 24.16 171.14 235 351.39 49.53
Bowel 66.96 67.67 63.22 -6.58 13914.00 18401 24289.91 32.00
Brain 10.24 20.44 21.97 7.50 2247.83 5489 7397.15 34.76
Breast 116.94 204.93 209.51 2.24 24493.43 54833 71022.04 29.52
Cervix 20.30 11.81 16.85 42.68 4391.37 3223 4792.35 48.69
Hodgkin Lymphoma 2.52 3.21 3.17 -1.05 594.73 881 993.46 12.77
Kidney 5.50 17.27 20.42 18.21 1172.13 4634 7473.54 61.28
Larynx 1.68 1.48 1.45 -2.14 360.06 389 498.93 28.26
Leukaemia 9.22 13.15 13.01 -1.10 1933.73 3566 5043.55 41.43
Liver 1.88 6.87 8.32 21.02 402.84 1884 3363.86 78.55
Lung 45.27 80.94 80.46 -0.59 9764.50 21633 29957.38 38.48
Melanoma Skin 6.95 28.64 30.40 6.14 1490.95 7698 10277.73 33.51
Mesothelioma 0.39 1.60 0.86 -45.98 83.92 428 362.64 -15.27
Myeloma 5.22 9.00 9.61 6.76 1119.37 2428 3659.35 50.71
Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma 8.05 22.67 21.92 -3.32 1736.08 6069 8131.89 33.99
Oesophagus 9.43 10.62 10.77 1.44 1956.08 2900 4291.51 47.98
Oral 4.95 9.61 12.71 32.24 1033.77 2556 4384.60 71.54
Ovary 23.06 27.67 31.89 15.23 4941.26 7367 10500.59 42.54
Pancreas 15.54 17.60 18.38 4.47 3259.36 4783 7282.64 52.26
Stomach 27.44 8.48 7.72 -8.92 5675.25 2329 3061.72 31.46
Thyroid 2.95 9.01 15.68 74.07 643.73 2424 4749.60 95.94
Uterus 20.67 35.51 33.09 -6.84 4421.24 9323 11576.13 24.17
Other 42.71 42.00 40.89 -2.62 8978.67 11540 15623.74 35.39
All cancer sites 462.91 664.27 685.37 3.18 97809.21 178642 243689.80 36.41

Thyroid cancer has the fastest-increasing projected incidence rates in both males and females, rising by more than 2% per year on average between 2015 and 2035.

The Five Cancers with the Highest Average Annual Percentage Change in European Age-Standardised Incidence Rates, Males, UK, 2015-2035

projections common cancers incidence males

The Five Cancers with the Highest Average Annual Percentage Change in European Age-Standardised Incidence Rates, Females, UK, 2015-2035

Projections incidence females

References

  1. Smittenaar CR, Petersen KA, Stewart K, Moitt N. Cancer Incidence and Mortality Projections in the UK Until 2035. Brit J Cancer 2016.

About this data

Data is for: UK, 1979-2014 (observed), 2015-2035 (projected). ICD-10 codes all cancers combined C00-C97 excluding C44, plus D32-D33, D35.2-D35.4, D42-D43, D44.3-D44.5; anal C21; bladder C67; bone sarcoma C40-C41; bowel C18-C20; brain C70-C72, C75.1-C75.3, D32-D33, D35.2-D35.4, D42-D43, D44.3-D44.5; breast C50; cervical C53; Hodgkin lymphoma C81; kidney C64-C66, C68; laryngeal C32; leukaemia C91-C95; liver C22; lung C33-C34; malignant melanoma C43; mesothelioma C45; myeloma C90; non-Hodgkin lymphoma C82-C85; oesophageal C15; oral C00-C06, C09-C10, C12-C14; ovarian C56-C57.4; pancreatic C25; prostate C61; stomach C16; testicular C62; thyroid C73; uterine C54-C55.

Projections are based on observed incidence and mortality rates and therefore implicitly include changes in cancer risk factors, diagnosis and treatment. The definition of "all cancer types/sites combined" used here differs from that typically used in incidence statistics on this website: benign and uncertain or unknown behaviour brain, other central nervous system and intracranial tumours (D32-D33, D35.2-D35.4, D42-D43, D44.3-D44.5) are included here. It is not possible to assess the statistical significance of changes between 2014 (observed) and 2035 (projected) figures. Confidence intervals are not calculated for the projected figures. Projections are by their nature uncertain because unexpected events in future could change the trend. It is not sensible to calculate a boundary of uncertainty around these already uncertain point estimates. Changes are described as "increase" "decrease" if there is any difference between the point estimates.

More on projections methodology

Last reviewed:

There are relatively few cancer types where European age-standardised Open a glossary item incidence rates differ significantly between UK constituent countries. Such differences are often due to variation in data recording (e.g. definitions of recordable tumour types), risk factor prevalence (e.g. cigarette smoking rates), or diagnostic activity (e.g. screening uptake rates). Between-country variation is discussed on the types of cancer pages.

The five most common cancers are the same in all the UK constituent countries – breast, prostate, lung, and bowel cancers, and melanoma skin.[1-4] The order of these five varies between countries. Breast cancer is the most common cancer in all the UK countries except Scotland, where lung cancer is most common. 

References

  1. Data were provided by the Office for National Statistics on request, June 2016. Similar data can be found here: http://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/healthandsocialcare/conditionsanddiseases/bulletins/cancerregistrationstatisticsengland/previousReleases
  2. Data were provided by ISD Scotland on request, May 2016. 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, June 2016. Similar data can be found here: http://www.wcisu.wales.nhs.uk
  4. Data were provided by the Northern Ireland Cancer Registry on request, May 2016. Similar data can be found here: http://www.qub.ac.uk/research-centres/nicr/

About this data

Data is for UK, 2014, ICD-10 C00-C97 excl. C44

Last reviewed:

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