Anal cancer statistics


New cases of anal cancer, 2013, UK


Deaths from anal cancer, 2014, UK


Preventable cases of anal cancer, UK

  • There were around 1,200 new cases of anal cancer in the UK in 2013, that’s more than 3 cases diagnosed every day.
  • Anal cancer accounts less than 1% of all new cases in the UK (2013).
  • In males, there were around 440 cases of anal cancer diagnosed in the UK in 2013.
  • In females, there were around 800 cases of anal cancer diagnosed in the UK in 2013.
  • Around half (51%) of anal cancer cases in the UK each year are diagnosed in people aged 65 and over (2011-2013).
  • Since the late 1970s, anal cancer incidence rates have more than doubled (130% increase) in Great Britain. The increase is larger in females where rates have almost tripled (191% increase), than in males where rates have increased by around two-thirds (65%).
  • Over the last decade, anal cancer incidence rates have increased by almost a third (30%) in the UK, though this includes an increase in females (46%) and stable rates in males.
  • 1 in 795 men and 1 in 470 women will be diagnosed with anal cancer during their lifetime.
  • Anal cancer in England is more common in people living in the most deprived areas.

See more in-depth anal cancer incidence statistics

  • There were around 360 anal cancer deaths in the UK in 2014, that’s around 1 death every day.
  • Anal cancer accounts for less than 1% of all cancer deaths in the UK (2014).
  • In males in the UK, there were around 140 anal cancer deaths in 2014.
  • In females in the UK, there were around 220 anal cancer deaths in 2014.
  • Almost half (48%) of anal cancer deaths in the UK each year are in people aged 75 and over (2012-2014).
  • Mortality rates for anal cancer in the UK are highest in people aged 90+ (2012-2014).
  • Anal cancer mortality rates have quadrupled since the early 1970s.
  • Anal cancer deaths in England are more common in people living in the most deprived areas.

Read more in-depth anal cancer mortality statistics

  • A person’s risk of developing cancer depends on many factors, including age, genetics, and exposure to risk factors (including some potentially avoidable lifestyle factors).
  • 90% of anal cancer cases each year in the UK are linked to major lifestyle and other risk factors.
  • The main potentially avoidable risk factor for anal cancer is human papillomavirus (HPV) infection (linked to an estimated 90% of anal cancer cases in the UK); some other factors may relate to anal cancer risk partly because they are related to HPV.
  • The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) also causes anal cancer, internationally-recognised classifications state.
  • Other factors including smoking, previous vulval or cervical precancerous lesions, and receipt of organ transplant have been studied, but there is not enough good-quality evidence to classify these factors in relation to anal cancer risk.

See more in-depth cancer risk factors

  • 'GP referral' is the most common route to diagnosing anal cancer.
  • ‘Two-week wait’ standard is met by England, ‘31-day wait’ is met by all countries but Wales, and ‘62-day wait’ is not met by any country for lower gastrointestinal cancers.
  • Almost 9 in 10 patients had a ‘very good’ or ‘excellent’ patient experience.
  • Around 8 in 10 patients are given the name of their Clinical Nurse Specialist.

See more in-depth anal cancer diagnosis and treatment statistics

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The latest statistics available for anal cancer in the UK are; incidence 2013 and mortality 2014. Reliable survival data for the UK is currently not available.

The ICD code Open a glossary item for anal cancer is ICD-10 C21.

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.

Lifetime risk estimates were calculated using incidence, mortality, population and all-cause mortality data for 2010-2012 due to the small number of cases.

Meta-analyses Open a glossary item and systematic reviews Open a glossary item are cited where available, as they provide the best overview of all available research and most take study quality into account. Individual case-control Open a glossary item and cohort studies Open a glossary item are reported where such aggregated data are lacking.

Routes to diagnosis statistics were calculated from cases of cancer registered in England which were diagnosed in 2006-2013 due to the small number of cases.

Cancer waiting times statistics are for patients who entered the health care system within financial year 2014-15. Anal cancer is part of the group 'Lower Gastrointestinal cancer' for cancer waiting times data. Codes vary per country but broadly include: small intestine, colon, rectosigmoid junction, rectum, anus and anal canal, other and ill-defined digestive organs, secondary cancers of small intestine, large intestine, rectum, and unspecified digestive organs.

Patient Experience data is for adult patients in England with a primary diagnosis of cancer and who had been in active treatment between September and November 2013 who completed a survey in 2014.

Deprivation gradient statistics were calculated using incidence data for three time periods: 1996-2000, 2001-2005 and 2006-2010 and for mortality for two time periods: 2002-2006 and 2007-2011. The 1997-2001 mortality data were only used for the all cancers combined group as this time period includes the change in coding from ICD-9 to ICD-10. 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.


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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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