Thyroid cancer incidence statistics

Cases

New cases of thyroid cancer, 2015, UK

 

Proportion of all cases

Percentage thyroid cancer is of total cancer cases, 2015, UK

 

Age

Peak rate of thyroid cancer cases, 2013-2015, UK

 

Trend over time

Change in thyroid cancer incidence rates since the early 1990s, UK

Thyroid cancer is the 20th most common cancer in the UK, accounting for 1% of all new cancer cases (2015).[1-4]

In males in the UK, thyroid cancer is the 20th most common cancer (less than 1% of all new male cancer cases). In females in the UK it is the 17th most common cancer (1% of all new female cancer cases).

27% of thyroid cancer cases in the UK are in males, and 73% are in females.

Thyroid cancer incidence rates (European age-standardised (AS) rates Open a glossary item ) for persons are significantly lower than the UK average in Northern Ireland and Wales, and similar to the UK average in all other UK constituent countries.

Thyroid Cancer (C73), Number of New Cases, Crude and European Age-Standardised (AS) Incidence Rates per 100,000 Population, UK, 2015

  England Scotland Wales Northern Ireland UK
Male Cases 821 78 37 23 959
Crude Rate 3.0 3.0 2.4 2.5 3.0
AS Rate 3.3 3.2 2.5 3.0 3.2
AS Rate - 95% LCI 3.1 2.5 1.7 1.8 3.0
AS Rate - 95% UCI 3.5 3.9 3.3 4.2 3.4
Female Cases 2,234 203 78 54 2,569
Crude Rate 8.0 7.3 5.0 5.7 7.8
AS Rate 8.3 7.3 5.1 5.9 8.0
AS Rate - 95% LCI 7.9 6.3 3.9 4.3 7.7
AS Rate - 95% UCI 8.6 8.3 6.2 7.5 8.3
Persons Cases 3,055 281 115 77 3,528
Crude Rate 5.6 5.2 3.7 4.2 5.4
AS Rate 5.8 5.3 3.8 4.4 5.6
AS Rate - 95% LCI 5.6 4.7 3.1 3.4 5.4
AS Rate - 95% UCI 6.0 5.9 4.5 5.4 5.8

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
 

For thyroid cancer, there are few established risk factors therefore differences between countries largely reflect differences in diagnosis and data recording.

References

  1. Data were provided by the Office for National Statistics on request, July 2017. Similar data can be found here: https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/healthandsocialcare/conditionsanddiseases/bulletins/cancerregistrationstatisticsengland/previousReleases.
  2. Data were provided by ISD Scotland on request, August 2017. Similar data can be found here: http://www.isdscotland.org/Health-Topics/Cancer/Publications.
  3. Data were provided by the Welsh Cancer Intelligence and Surveillance Unit, Health Intelligence Division, Public Health Wales on request, October 2017. Similar data can be found here: http://www.wcisu.wales.nhs.uk.
  4. Data were provided by the Northern Ireland Cancer Registry on request, July 2017. Similar data can be found here: http://www.qub.ac.uk/research-centres/nicr/.

About this data

Data is for UK, 2015, ICD-10 C73.

Last reviewed:

Thyroid cancer incidence is strongly related to age, with the highest incidence rates being in older people. In the UK in 2013-2015, on average each year more than a tenth (12%) of new cases were in people aged 75 and over.[1-4] 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.

Age-specific incidence rates in males rise gradually from around age 10-14, before dropping in the oldest age groups. Rates in females rise sharply from around age 10-14, reaching a peak at ages 35-39, then decline steadily, then drop sharply from age 80-84. The highest rates are in the 70 to 74 age group for males and the 35 to 39 age group for females.

Incidence rates are significantly lower in males than females in a number of (mainly older) age groups. The gap is widest at age 20 to 24, when the age-specific incidence rate is 4.8 times lower in males than females.

Thyroid Cancer (C73), Average Number of New Cases per Year and Age-Specific Incidence Rates per 100,000 Population, UK, 2013-2015

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
 

For thyroid cancer, like most cancer types, incidence increases with age. This largely reflects cell DNA damage accumulating over time. Damage can result from biological processes or from exposure to risk factors. A drop or plateau in incidence in the oldest age groups often indicates reduced diagnostic activity perhaps due to general ill health.

References

  1. Data were provided by the Office for National Statistics on request, July 2017. Similar data can be found here: https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/healthandsocialcare/conditionsanddiseases/bulletins/cancerregistrationstatisticsengland/previousReleases.
  2. Data were provided by ISD Scotland on request, August 2017. Similar data can be found here: http://www.isdscotland.org/Health-Topics/Cancer/Publications.
  3. Data were provided by the Welsh Cancer Intelligence and Surveillance Unit, Health Intelligence Division, Public Health Wales on request, October 2017. Similar data can be found here: http://www.wcisu.wales.nhs.uk.
  4. Data were provided by the Northern Ireland Cancer Registry on request, July 2017. Similar data can be found here: http://www.qub.ac.uk/research-centres/nicr/.

About this data

Data is for UK, 2013-2015, ICD-10 C73.

Last reviewed:

Thyroid cancer European age-standardised (AS) Open a glossary item incidence rates for males and females combined increased by 148% in the UK between 1993-1995 and 2013-2015.[1-4] The increase was of a similar size in males and females.

For males, thyroid cancer AS incidence rates in the UK increased by 147% between 1993-1995 and 2013-2015. For females, thyroid cancer AS incidence rates in the UK increased by 155% between 1993-1995 and 2013-2015.

Over the last decade in the UK (between 2003-2005 and 2013-2015), thyroid cancer AS incidence rates for males and females combined increased by 80%.[1-4] In males AS incidence rates increased by 80%, and in females rates increased by 82%.

Thyroid Cancer (C73), European Age-Standardised Incidence Rates, UK, 1993-2015

Thyroid cancer incidence rates have increased overall in all broad age groups in males in the UK since the early 1990s.[1-4] Rates in 0-24s have increased by 160%, in 25-49s have increased by 208%, in 50-59s have increased by 199%, in 60-69s have increased by 112%, in 70-79s have increased by 102%, and in 80+s have increased by 94%.

Thyroid Cancer (C73), European Age-Standardised Incidence Rates, By Age, Males, UK, 1993-2015

Thyroid cancer incidence rates have increased overall in all broad age groups in females in the UK since the early 1990s.[1-4] Rates in 0-24s have increased by 118%, in 25-49s have increased by 196%, in 50-59s have increased by 234%, in 60-69s have increased by 161%, in 70-79s have increased by 75%, and in 80+s have increased by 32%.

Thyroid Cancer (C73), European Age-Standardised Incidence Rates, By Age, Females, UK, 1993-2015

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

References

  1. Data were provided by the Office for National Statistics on request, July 2017. Similar data can be found here: https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/healthandsocialcare/conditionsanddiseases/bulletins/cancerregistrationstatisticsengland/previousReleases.
  2. Data were provided by ISD Scotland on request, August 2017. Similar data can be found here: http://www.isdscotland.org/Health-Topics/Cancer/Publications.
  3. Data were provided by the Welsh Cancer Intelligence and Surveillance Unit, Health Intelligence Division, Public Health Wales on request, October 2017. Similar data can be found here: http://www.wcisu.wales.nhs.uk.
  4. Data were provided by the Northern Ireland Cancer Registry on request, July 2017. Similar data can be found here: http://www.qub.ac.uk/research-centres/nicr/.

About this data

Data is for UK, 1993-2015, ICD-10 C73.

Last reviewed:

Thyroid cancer incidence rates are projected to rise by 74% in the UK between 2014 and 2035, to 11 cases per 100,000 people by 2035.[1] This includes a larger increase for males than for females.

For males, thyroid cancer European age-standardised (AS) Open a glossary item incidence rates in the UK are projected to rise by 77% between 2014 and 2035, to 7 cases per 100,000 by 2035.[1] For females, rates are projected to rise by 74% between 2014 and 2035, to 16 cases per 100,000 by 2035.[1]

Thyroid cancer (C73), Observed and Projected Age-Standardised Incidence Rates, by Sex, UK, 1979-2035

It is projected that 6,839 cases of thyroid cancer (2,089 in males, 4,750 in females) will be diagnosed in the UK in 2035.

References

  1. Smittenaar CR, Petersen KA, Stewart K, Moitt N. Cancer Incidence and Mortality Projections in the UK Until 2035. Brit J Cancer 2016.

About this data

Data is for: UK, 1979-2014 (observed), 2015-2035 (projected), ICD-10 C73

Projections are based on observed incidence and mortality rates and therefore implicitly include changes in cancer risk factors, diagnosis and treatment. It is not possible to assess the statistical significance of changes between 2014 (observed) and 2035 (projected) figures. Confidence intervals are not calculated for the projected figures. Projections are by their nature uncertain because unexpected events in future could change the trend. It is not sensible to calculate a boundary of uncertainty around these already uncertain point estimates. Changes are described as 'increase' or 'decrease' if there is any difference between the point estimates.

More on projections methodology

Last reviewed:

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.
Last reviewed:

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

References

  1. Cancer Research UK and National Cancer Intelligence Network. Cancer by deprivation in England: Incidence, 1996-2010, Mortality, 1997-2011. London: NCIN; 2014.

About this data

Data is for UK, 2006-2010, ICD-10 C73

Deprivation gradient statistics were calculated using incidence data for 2006-2010. 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.

Last reviewed:

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.
Last reviewed:

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