Liver cancer statistics


New cases of liver cancer, 2011, UK


Deaths from liver cancer, 2012, UK


Preventable cases of liver cancer, UK

  • In the UK in 2011, around 4,300 people in the UK were diagnosed with liver cancer, that is 12 people every day.
  • Around 2,800 men and 1,600 women in the UK were diagnosed with liver cancer in 2011.
  • Liver cancer is more common in men than in women with almost two-thirds of cases occurring in men.
  • Liver cancer is more common in older people. Around  8 in 10 cases are diagnosed in people aged 60 and over.
  • Liver cancer incidence rates  in Great Britain have tripled since the mid-1970s, with most of this increase  occurring since the early 1990s.
  • In  Europe, around 63,500 new cases of liver cancer were estimated to have been diagnosed in 2012. The UK incidence rate is 14th lowest in Europe for males and 17th lowest for females.
  • Worldwide, more than 782,000 people were estimated to have been diagnosed with liver cancer in 2012, with incidence rates varying across the world. 

Read more in-depth liver cancer incidence statistics

  • In the UK in 2012 around 4,500 people died of liver cancer, that is 12 people every day.
  • In 2012 in the UK around 2,700 men and 1,800 women died from liver cancer.
  • Liver cancer mortality rates have increased have increased more than three-fold in males and more than four-fold in females since the mid-1970s in the UK.
  • Worldwide, an estimated 745,000 people were estimated to have died from liver cancer in 2012, with mortality rates varying across the world.

Read more in-depth liver cancer mortality statistics

  • 42% (49% in males and 28% in females) of liver cancer cases each year in the UK are linked to major lifestyle and other risk factors.
  • A person’s risk of developing liver cancer depends on many factors, including age,genetics, and exposure to risk factors (including some potentially avoidable lifestyle factors).
  • An estimated 42% of liver cancer cases in the UK are linked to lifestyle factors including smoking (23%), infections (16%), and alcohol (9%).
  • Oral contraceptives, some types of ionising radiation, and certain occupational exposures cause liver cancer.
  • Fruit may relate to lower liver cancer risk, but evidence is unclear.
  • Overweight and obesity, and certain medical conditions, may relate to higher liver cancer risk.

Read more in-depth liver cancer risk factors

  • Emergency presentation is the most common route to diagnosis of liver cancer.
  • ‘Two-week wait’ standards are met by all countries, ‘31 day wait’ is met by all but Northern Ireland, and ‘62 day wait’ is not met by any country for upper gastrointestinal cancers.

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The latest statistics available for liver cancer in the UK are; incidence 2011, mortality 2012. Reliable survival data for trends over time in the UK is not available. One- and five-year survival data for adult men and women in England, and by age, will be available in our next update (Autumn 2015).

The ICD code Open a glossary item for liver cancer is ICD-10 C22.

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 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. Liver cancer is part of the group 'Upper Gastrointestinal cancer' for cancer waiting times data. Codes vary per country but broadly include: oesophagus, stomach, liver, gallbladder, other and unspecified parts of biliary tract, pancreas, secondary cancers of liver, intrahepatic bile duct and duodenum.


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

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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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