Want the key stats in the sections on this page as a document? or looking for a stats report of the in-depth stats? Use the print function at the bottom of any Cancer Stats page Share this page > Print or your browser options to print or save.
Thyroid cancer statistics
New cases of thyroid cancer, 2014, UK
Deaths from thyroid cancer, 2014, UK
Survive thyroid cancer for 10 or more years, 2009-2013, England
Preventable cases of thyroid cancer, UK
- There were around 3,400 new cases of thyroid cancer in the UK in 2014, that’s more than 9 cases diagnosed every day.
- Thyroid cancer is the 19th most common cancer in the UK (2014).
- Thyroid cancer accounts for 1% of all new cases in the UK (2014).
- In males in the UK, thyroid cancer is the 19th most common cancer, with around 970 cases diagnosed in 2014.
- In females in the UK, thyroid cancer is the 16th most common cancer, with around 2,400 cases diagnosed in 2014.
- More than half (53%) of thyroid cancer cases in the UK each year are diagnosed in people aged 50 and over (2012-2014).
- Incidence rates for thyroid cancer in the UK are highest in males aged 75-79 and females aged 40-44 (2012-2014).
- Since the early 1990s, thyroid cancer incidence rates have more than doubled (139% increase) in the UK. The increase is larger in females (146%) than in males (137% increase).
- Over the last decade, thyroid cancer incidence rates have increased by almost three-quarters (74%) in the UK, which includes similar increases in females (75%) and males (74%).
- Incidence rates for thyroid cancer are projected to rise by 74% in the UK between 2014 and 2035, to 11 cases per 100,000 people by 2035.
- 1 in 480 men and 1 in 180 women will be diagnosed with thyroid cancer during their lifetime.
- Thyroid cancer in England is not associated with deprivation.
- An estimated 22,900 people who had previously been diagnosed with thyroid cancer were alive in the UK at the end of 2010.
- In Europe, around 53,000 new cases of thyroid cancer were estimated to have been diagnosed in 2012. The UK incidence rate is 11th lowest in Europe for males and 15th lowest for females.
- Worldwide, around 298,000 people were estimated to have been diagnosed with thyroid cancer in 2012, with incidence rates varying across the world.
- There were around 380 thyroid cancer deaths in the UK in 2014, that’s around 1 death every day.
- Thyroid cancer accounts for less than 1% of all cancer deaths in the UK (2014).
- In males in the UK, thyroid cancer is the 20th most common cause of cancer death, with around 150 deaths in 2014.
- In females in the UK, there were around 220 thyroid cancer deaths in 2014.
- Almost 6 in 10 (55%) thyroid cancer deaths in the UK each year are in people aged 75 and over (2012-2014).
- Mortality rates for thyroid cancer in the UK are highest in people aged 85+ (2012-2014).
- Since the early 1970s, thyroid cancer mortality rates have decreased by almost a half (46%) in the UK. The decrease is smaller in males (24%), than in females (54%).
- Over the last decade, thyroid cancer mortality rates have remained stable in the UK, for males and females combined and separately.
- Mortality rates for thyroid cancer are projected to rise by 7% in the UK between 2014 and 2035, to 1 death per 100,000 people by 2035.
- Thyroid cancer in England is not associated with deprivation.
- In Europe, around 6,300 people were estimated to have died from thyroid cancer in 2012. The UK mortality rate is sixth lowest in Europe for males and ninth lowest for females.
- Worldwide, around 37,800 people were estimated to have died from thyroid cancer in 2012, with mortality rates varying across the world.
- Almost 9 in 10 (85%) people diagnosed with thyroid cancer in England survive their disease for ten years or more (2009-2013).
- Around 9 in 10 (89%) people diagnosed with thyroid cancer in England survive their disease for five years or more (2009-2013).
- Almost 95% (93%) of people diagnosed with thyroid cancer in England survive their disease for one year or more (2009-2013).
- Thyroid cancer 10-year survival in England is higher in women than men (2009-2013).
- Thyroid cancer survival in England is highest for adults diagnosed aged under 50 years old (2009-2013).
- Nearly all people in England diagnosed with thyroid cancer aged 15-49 survive their disease for five years or more, compared with almost half of people diagnosed aged 80-99 (2009-2013).
- Five-year relative survival for thyroid cancer in men is below the European average in England but similar to the European average in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
- Five-year relative survival for thyroid cancer in women is below the European average in England and Wales but similar to the European average in Scotland and Northern Ireland.
- 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).
- Less than 1% of thyroid cancer cases each year in the UK are linked to major lifestyle and other risk factors.
- An estimated 1% of thyroid cancer cases in the UK are caused by ionising radiation.
- Overweight and obesity, being taller, and certain medical conditions may relate to higher thyroid cancer risk, but evidence is unclear.
- Vegetables and fish may relate to lower thyroid cancer risk, but evidence is unclear.
- 'Two-week wait' standards are met by all countries, '31-day wait' is met by all but Wales, and ‘62-day wait’ is not met by any country for head and neck cancers.
- More than 8 in 10 patients had a ‘very good’ or ‘excellent’ patient experience.
- Three quarters of patients are given the name of their Clinical Nurse Specialist.
The latest statistics available for thyroid cancer in the UK are; incidence 2014, mortality 2014 and survival 2009-2013.
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 2012 for females and 2010-2012 for males due to the small number of cases.
Survival statistics give an overall picture of survival and (unless otherwise stated) include all adults (15-99) diagnosed, at all ages,
Cancer waiting times statistics are for patients who entered the health care system within financial year 2014-15. Thyroid cancer is part of the group 'Head and Neck cancers' for cancer waiting times data. Codes vary per country but broadly include: lip, tongue, gum, floor of mouth, palate, other and unspecified parts of mouth, parotid gland, salivary glands, tonsil, oropharynx, nasopharynx, piriform sinus, hypopharynx, other ill-defined site of lip, oral cavity and pharynx, nasal cavity and middle ear, accessory sinuses, larynx, thyroid and lymph nodes and other and ill-defined sites of the head, face and neck.
Patient Experience data is for adult patients in England with a primary diagnosis of cancer, who were in active treatment between September and November 2013 and 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.
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
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.