Thyroid cancer statistics

Cases

New cases of thyroid cancer, 2011, UK

Deaths

Deaths from thyroid cancer, 2012, UK

Prevention

Preventable cases of thyroid cancer, UK

  • In the UK in 2011 around 2,700 people were diagnosed with thyroid cancer, that’s more than 7 every day.
  • Thyroid cancer is more common in women than men. Around two-and-a-half times as many women are diagnosed as men.
  • In 2011, around 1,960 women and 770 men in the UK were diagnosed with thyroid cancer.
  • Almost half of all cases of thyroid cancer in the UK are diagnosed in people aged under 50, with the under-50s accounting for a higher proportion of female cases (52%) than male cases (40%).
  • Thyroid cancer incidence rates have around doubled in males and more than doubled in females since the 1990s.
  • 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.

Read more in-depth thyroid cancer incidence statistics

  • In 2012, around 370 people in the UK died from thyroid cancer.
  • In the UK in 2012 230 women and around 140 men died from thyroid cancer.
  • Thyroid cancer mortality rates in women in the UK have more than halved in the last 40 years. In men they have fallen by almost a third.
  • 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.

Read more in-depth thyroid cancer mortality statistics

  • Less than 1% of thyroid cancer cases each year in the UK are linked to major lifestyle and other risk factors.
  • A person’s risk of developing thyroid cancer depends on many factors, including age, genetics, and exposure to risk factors (including some potentially avoidable lifestyle 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.

Read more in-depth thyroid cancer risk factors

The latest statistics available for thyroid cancer in the UK are; incidence 2011, mortality 2012. Reliable survival data for the UK is currently not available. 

The ICD code Open a glossary item for thyroid cancer is ICD-10 C73.

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.

Citation

You are welcome to reuse this Cancer Research UK statistics 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. 

Acknowledgements

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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