Thyroid cancer incidence statistics

Cases

New cases of thyroid cancer, 2013, UK

 

Proportion of all cases

Percentage thyroid cancer is of total cancer cases, 2013, UK

 

Age

Age that more than half of thyroid cancer cases are diagnosed, 2011-2013, UK

 

Trend since 1970s

Thyroid cancer incidence rates have increased since the late 1970s, GB

Thyroid cancer is the 19th most common cancer in the UK (2013), accounting for less than 0.9% of all new cases. In males, it is the 20th most common cancer (0.5% of the male total), whilst in females it is the 17th most common cancer (1% of the female total).[1-4]

In 2013, there were 3,241 new cases of thyroid cancer in the UK: 880 (27%) in males and 2,361 (73%) in females, giving a male:female ratio of around 4:10.[1-4] The crude incidence rate Open a glossary item shows that there are 3 new thyroid cancer cases for every 100,000 males in the UK, and 7 for every 100,000 females.

Thyroid cancer is one of the few cancers which can occur in both sexes but is more common in females than males. This is at least partly due to sex differences in exposure to risk factors.[5]

For females, the European age-standardised incidence rates Open a glossary item (AS rates) are significantly higher in England compared with Wales and Northern Ireland, with no differences between the other constituent countries of the UK. For males, there are no significant differences in rates between the UK countries.[1-4]

Thyroid Cancer (C73), Number of New Cases, Crude and European Age-Standardised (AS) Incidence Rates per 100,000 Population, UK, 2013

England Wales Scotland Northern Ireland UK
Male Cases 745 43 74 18 880
Crude Rate 2.8 2.8 2.9 2.0 2.8
AS Rate 3.1 2.9 3.0 2.3 3.0
AS Rate - 95% LCL 2.9 2.0 2.3 1.2 2.8
AS Rate - 95% UCL 3.3 3.7 3.7 3.3 3.2
Female Cases 2,046 78 188 49 2,361
Crude Rate 7.5 5.0 6.9 5.3 7.2
AS Rate 7.7 5.1 6.9 5.6 7.4
AS Rate - 95% LCL 7.4 3.9 5.9 4.0 7.1
AS Rate - 95% UCL 8.0 6.2 7.8 7.1 7.7
Persons Cases 2,791 121 262 67 3,241
Crude Rate 5.2 3.9 4.9 3.7 5.1
AS Rate 5.4 4.0 5.0 4.0 5.3
AS Rate - 95% LCL 5.2 3.3 4.4 3.1 5.1
AS Rate - 95% UCL 5.6 4.7 5.6 5.0 5.5

95% LCL and 95% UCL are the 95% lower and upper confidence limits Open a glossary item around the AS Rate Open a glossary item

ASR calculated with ESP2013. Not comparable with ASRs calculated with ESP1976.

Thyroid cancer incidence rates throughout England vary moderately between the former cancer networks, with the highest rates in parts of the West Midlands, Thames Valley and Yorkshire, and the lowest in parts of the South and parts of the North-East.[5]

References

  1. Data were provided by the Office for National Statistics on request, July 2015. Similar data can be found here: http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/vsob1/cancer-statistics-registrations--england--series-mb1-/index.html.
  2. Data were provided by ISD Scotland on request, April 2015. Similar data can be found here: http://www.isdscotland.org/Health-Topics/Cancer/Publications/index.asp.
  3. Data were provided by the Welsh Cancer Intelligence and Surveillance Unit on request, February 2015. Similar data can be found here: http://www.wales.nhs.uk/sites3/page.cfm?orgid=242&pid=59080.
  4. Data were provided by the Northern Ireland Cancer Registry on request, March 2015. Similar data can be found here: http://www.qub.ac.uk/research-centres/nicr/.
  5. Oxford Cancer Intelligence Unit. Profile of Head and Neck Cancers in England: Incidence, Mortality and Survival. 2010.
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Thyroid cancer incidence in males is strongly related to age with the highest incidence rates being in older males. Thyroid cancer incidence rates in females are highest overall in younger and middle-aged women – a different pattern to male thyroid cancer, and to most cancers. In the UK in 2011-2013, on average each year around 6 in 10 (61%) male cases were diagnosed in those aged 50 and over, compared with almost half (48%) of female cases.[1-4]

Age-specific incidence rates in males rise gradually from around age 10-14 years and peak in the 75-79 age group. Rates in females rise sharply from around age 10-14, reaching a peak at ages 35-39, then steadily decrease until dropping sharply in females aged 90+. Incidence rates are higher for females than for males in those aged between 10 and 84 (the difference is not significant in the remaining age groups). This gap is widest at age 20-24, when the male:female incidence ratio of age-specific rates (to account for the different proportions of males to females in each age group) is around 10:51.[1-4]

Thyroid Cancer (C73), Average Number of New Cases per Year and Age-Specific Incidence Rates per 100,000 Population, UK, 2011-2013

References

  1. Data were provided by the Office for National Statistics on request, July 2015. Similar data can be found here: http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/vsob1/cancer-statistics-registrations--england--series-mb1-/index.html.
  2. Data were provided by ISD Scotland on request, April 2015. Similar data can be found here: http://www.isdscotland.org/Health-Topics/Cancer/Publications/index.asp.
  3. Data were provided by the Welsh Cancer Intelligence and Surveillance Unit on request, February 2015. Similar data can be found here: http://www.wales.nhs.uk/sites3/page.cfm?orgid=242&pid=59080.
  4. Data were provided by the Northern Ireland Cancer Registry on request, March 2015. Similar data can be found here: http://www.qub.ac.uk/research-centres/nicr/.
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Thyroid cancer incidence rates have increased by 149% in Great Britain since the late 1970s.[1-3] This includes a larger overall increase for females than for males, and for both sexes a period of stability followed by an increase.

For males, European age-standardised Open a glossary item (AS) incidence rates remained stable until 1994-1996 and have since increased by 121%. For females, rates remained stable until 1991-1993, and have since increased by 144%.

Thyroid Cancer (C73), European Age-Standardised Incidence Rates, by Sex, Great Britain, 1979-2013

ASR calculated with ESP2013. Not comparable with ASRs calculated with ESP1976.

Over the last decade in the UK (between 2002-2004 and 2011-2013), thyroid cancer AS incidence rates have increased by 71% for males and females combined, with similar increases for males (70%) and females (73%).[1-4]

Thyroid Cancer (C73), European Age-Standardised Incidence Rates, by Sex, UK, 1993-2013

ASR calculated with ESP2013. Not comparable with ASRs calculated with ESP1976.

Thyroid cancer incidence trends probably reflect incidental detection of asymptomatic disease through increasing use of medical imaging techniques.[5-8] Changing prevalence of risk factors, with recent incidence trends influenced by risk factor prevalence in years past, probably also plays some part.

Thyroid cancer incidence rates in males have increased overall for all of the broad age groups in Great Britain since the late 1970s, though in males younger than 70 this includes a period of stability followed by an increase from the mid-1990s onwards.[1-3] The largest overall increase has been in males aged 25-49, with European AS incidence rates more than quadrupling (316% increase) between 1979-1981 and 2011-2013. In males aged 70-79 and 80+, incidence rates have fluctuated but overall increased by 100% and 62% respectively between 1979-1981 and 2011-2013.

Thyroid Cancer (C73), European Age-Standardised Incidence Rates, by Age, Males, Great Britain, 1979-2013

ASR calculated with ESP2013. Not comparable with ASRs calculated with ESP1976.

Thyroid cancer incidence rates in females have also increased overall for most of the broad age groups in Great Britain since the late 1970s, with an initial period of stability for those aged 0-24, 25-49, 50-59 and 60-69.[1-3] Following a similar pattern to males, the largest overall increase was in females aged 25-49, with rates more than quadrupling (321% increase) between 1979-1981 and 2011-2013. In females aged 80+ rates have remained stable overall between 1979-1981 and 2011-2013, though this includes a 34% decrease between 1879-1981 and 1995-1997, followed by a 37% increase between 1995-1997 and 2011-2013.

Thyroid Cancer (C73), European Age-Standardised Incidence Rates, by Age, Females, Great Britain, 1979-2013

ASR calculated with ESP2013. Not comparable with ASRs calculated with ESP1976.

References

  1. Data were provided by the Office for National Statistics on request, July 2015. Similar data can be found here: http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/vsob1/cancer-statistics-registrations--england--series-mb1-/index.html.
  2. Data were provided by ISD Scotland on request, April 2015. Similar data can be found here: http://www.isdscotland.org/Health-Topics/Cancer/Publications/index.asp.
  3. Data were provided by the Welsh Cancer Intelligence and Surveillance Unit on request, February 2015. Similar data can be found here: http://www.wales.nhs.uk/sites3/page.cfm?orgid=242&pid=59080.
  4. Data were provided by the Northern Ireland Cancer Registry on request, March2015. Similar data can be found here: http://www.qub.ac.uk/research-centres/nicr/.
  5. Davies L, Welch HG. Increasing incidence of thyroid cancer in the United States, 1973-2002. JAMA 2006; 295(18): 2164-7
  6. Olaleve O, Ekrikpo U, Moorthy R, et al. Increasing incidence of differentiated thyroid cancer in South East England: 1987-2006. Eur Arch Otorhinolaryngol 2011;268(6):899-906.
  7. Chen AY, Jemal A, Ward EM. Increasing incidence of differentiated thyroid cancer in the United States, 1988-2005. Cancer 2009;115(16):3801-7
  8. Aschebrook-Kilfoy B, Ward MH, Sabra MM, et al. Thyroid cancer incidence patterns in the United States by histologic type, 1992-2006. Thyroid 2011;21(2):125-34
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The lifetime risk of developing thyroid cancer is around 1 in 480 for men and around 1 in 180 for women, in 2012 in the UK.[1]

The lifetime risk for thyroid cancer has been calculated to account for the possibility that someone can have more than one diagnosis of thyroid cancer over the course of their lifetime (‘Adjusted for Multiple Primaries’ (AMP) method).[2]

References

  1. Lifetime risk estimates calculated by the Statistical Information Team at Cancer Research UK. Based on data provided by the Office of National Statistics, ISD Scotland, the Welsh Cancer Intelligence and Surveillance Unit and the Northern Ireland Cancer Registry, on request, December 2013 to July 2014.
  2. Sasieni PD, Shelton J, Ormiston-Smith N, et al. What is the lifetime risk of developing cancer?: The effect of adjusting for multiple primaries. Br J Cancer, 2011. 105(3): p. 460-5.
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There is no evidence for an association between thyroid cancer incidence and deprivation for either males or females in England.[1] England-wide data for 2006-2010 show European age-standardised Open a glossary item incidence rates are similar for both males and females living in the most deprived areas compared with the least deprived.[1]

Thyroid Cancer (C73), European Age-Standardised Incidence Rates by Deprivation Quintile, England, 2006-2010

The estimated deprivation gradient in thyroid cancer incidence between people living in the most and least deprived areas in England has not changed in the period 1996-2010.[1

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Worldwide, it is estimated that there were more than 862,000 men and women still alive in 2008, up to five years after being diagnosed with thyroid cancer.[1]

References

  1. Ferlay J, Shin HR, Bray F, et al. GLOBOCAN 2008 v1.2, Cancer incidence and mortality worldwide: IARC CancerBase No. 10 [Internet]. Lyon, France: International Agency for Research on Cancer; 2010. Available from http://globocan.iarc.fr.
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Thyroid cancer is the 18th most common cancer in Europe, with around 53,000 new cases diagnosed in 2012 (2% of the total). In Europe (2012), the highest World age-standardised Open a glossary item incidence rates for thyroid cancer are in Italy for men and Lithuania for women; the lowest rates are in Montenegro for men and Albania for women. UK thyroid cancer incidence rates are estimated to be the 11th lowest in males in Europe, and 15th lowest in females.[1] These data are broadly in line with Europe-specific data available elsewhere.[2]

Thyroid cancer is the 16th most common cancer worldwide, with around 298,000 new cases diagnosed in 2012 (2% of the total). Thyroid cancer incidence rates are highest in Northern America and lowest in Western Africa, but this partly reflects varying data quality worldwide.[1]

Variation between countries may reflect different prevalence of risk factors, use of screening, and diagnostic methods.

References

  1. Ferlay J, Soerjomataram I, Ervik M, et al. GLOBOCAN 2012 v1.0, Cancer Incidence and Mortality Worldwide: IARC CancerBase No. 11 [Internet]. Lyon, France: International Agency for Research on Cancer; 2013. Available from: http://globocan.iarc.fr, accessed December 2013.
  2. Ferlay J, Steliarova-Foucher E, Lortet-Tieulent J, et al.Cancer incidence and mortality patterns in Europe: Estimates for 40 countries in 2012. European Journal of Cancer (2013) 49, 1374-1403.
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