Anal cancer statistics


New cases of anal cancer, 2012, UK


Deaths from anal cancer, 2012, UK


Preventable cases of anal cancer, UK

  • There were around 1,200 new cases of anal cancer in the UK in 2012, that’s around 3 people every day.
  • Anal cancer accounts for 0.4% of all new cases in the UK (2012).
  • In men, there were around 400 cases of anal cancer diagnosed in the UK in 2012.
  • In women, there were around 800 cases of anal cancer diagnosed in the UK in 2012.
  • Anal cancer is more common in women than menthe male:female ratio of cases is 10:18.
  • Around a quarter (26%) of cases of anal cancer are diagnosed in people aged 75 and over.
  • Since the late-1970s, anal cancer incidence rates have more than doubled (124% increase) in Great Britain.
  • Over the last decade, anal cancer incidence rates have increased by more than a quarter (29%) in the UK.

Read more in-depth anal cancer incidence statistics

  • Around 310 people died from anal cancer in 2012 in the UK, that's almost one person every day.
  • More than four in ten of all anal cancer deaths occur in people aged 75 and over.
  • Anal cancer mortality rates have quadrupled since the early 1970s.

Read more in-depth anal cancer mortality statistics

  • 90% of anal cancer cases each year in the UK are linked to major lifestyle and other risk factors.
  • A person's risk of developing anal cancer depends on many factors, including age, genetics, and exposure to risk factors (including some potentially avoidable lifestyle 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.

Read more in-depth anal cancer risk factors

  • GP referral (not ‘two-week wait’) is the most common route to diagnosis of 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.

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The latest statistics available for anal cancer in the UK are; incidence 2012 and mortality 2012. 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.

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 2006-2010.

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.


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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