Thyroid cancer incidence statistics

Cases

New cases of thyroid cancer, 2014, UK

 

Proportion of all cases

Percentage thyroid cancer is of total cancer cases, 2014, UK

 

Age

Peak rate of thyroid cancer cases, 2012-2014, UK

 

Trend over time

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

Thyroid cancer is the 19th most common cancer in the UK (2014), accounting for 1% of all new cases. In males, it is the 19th most common cancer (less than 1% of the male total), whilst in females it is the 16th most common cancer (1% of the female total).[1-4]

In 2014, there were 3,404 new cases of thyroid cancer in the UK: 966 (28%) in males and 2,438 (72%) 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. The European age-standardised Open a glossary item incidence rates (AS rates) are significantly lower in Wales compared with England and Scotland. For females, rates are significantly higher in England compared with Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. There are no significant differences between the other constituent countries of the UK.[1-4]

Thyroid Cancer (C73), Number of New Cases, Crude and European Age-Standardised (AS) Incidence Rates per 100,000 Population, UK, 2014

England Wales Scotland Northern Ireland UK
Male Cases 826 31 90 19 966
Crude Rate 3.1 2.0 3.5 2.1 3.0
AS Rate 3.4 2.1 3.7 2.3 3.3
AS Rate - 95% LCL 3.1 1.3 2.9 1.3 3.1
AS Rate - 95% UCL 3.6 2.8 4.4 3.3 3.5
Female Cases 2,115 92 177 54 2,438
Crude Rate 7.7 5.9 6.4 5.8 7.4
AS Rate 7.9 5.9 6.4 5.9 7.6
AS Rate - 95% LCL 7.6 4.7 5.5 4.4 7.3
AS Rate - 95% UCL 8.2 7.1 7.4 7.5 7.9
Persons Cases 2,941 123 267 73 3,404
Crude Rate 5.4 4.0 5.0 4.0 5.3
AS Rate 5.7 4.0 5.1 4.1 5.5
AS Rate - 95% LCL 5.5 3.3 4.4 3.2 5.3
AS Rate - 95% UCL 5.9 4.8 5.7 5.1 5.7

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, differences between countries largely reflect risk factor prevalence in years past.

References

  1. Data were provided by the Office for National Statistics on request, June 2016. Similar data can be found here: http://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/healthandsocialcare/conditionsanddiseases/bulletins/cancerregistrationstatisticsengland/previousReleases.
  2. Data were provided by ISD Scotland on request, May 2016. 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, June 2016. Similar data can be found here: http://www.wcisu.wales.nhs.uk.
  4. Data were provided by the Northern Ireland Cancer Registry on request, May 2016. Similar data can be found here: http://www.qub.ac.uk/research-centres/nicr/.

About this data

Data is for: UK, 2014, ICD-10 C73

Last reviewed:

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 2012-2014, on average each year around 6 in 10 (63%) male cases were diagnosed in those aged 50 and over, compared with almost half (49%) 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 40-44, 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 75-79, when the female: male incidence ratio of age-specific rates (to account for the different proportions of females to males in each age group) is around 14:10.[1-4]

Thyroid Cancer (C73), Average Number of New Cases per Year and Age-Specific Incidence Rates per 100,000 Population, UK, 2012-2014

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, June 2016. Similar data can be found here: http://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/healthandsocialcare/conditionsanddiseases/bulletins/cancerregistrationstatisticsengland/previousReleases.
  2. Data were provided by ISD Scotland on request, May 2016. 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, June 2016. Similar data can be found here: http://www.wcisu.wales.nhs.uk.
  4. Data were provided by the Northern Ireland Cancer Registry on request, May 2016. Similar data can be found here: http://www.qub.ac.uk/research-centres/nicr/.

About this data

Data is for UK, 2012-2014, ICD-10 C73

Last reviewed:

Thyroid cancer incidence rates have increased by 139% in the UK since the early 1990s.[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. Thyroid cancer incidence rates increased by 6% (persons) in Great Britain between 1979-1981 and 1991-1993.[1-3]

For males, European age-standardised Open a glossary item (AS) incidence rates remained stable until 1995-1997 and have since increased by 120%. For females, rates remained stable until 1997-1999, and have since increased by 134%.

Over the last decade in the UK (between 2003-2005 and 2012-2014), thyroid cancer AS incidence rates have increased by 74% for males and females combined, with similar increases for males (74%) and females (75%).[1-4]

Thyroid Cancer (C73), European Age-Standardised Incidence Rates, by Sex, UK, 1993-2014

Thyroid cancer incidence rates in males have increased overall for all of the broad age groups in the UK since the early 1990s,[1-4] The largest overall increase has been in males aged 25-49 and 50-59, with European AS incidence rates almost tripling (194% increase) between 1993-1995 and 2012-2014. In males aged 70-79 and 80+, incidence rates have fluctuated but overall increased by 106% and 76%, respectively, between 1993-1995 and 2012-2014.

Thyroid Cancer (C73), European Age-Standardised Incidence Rates, by Age, Males, UK, 1993-2014​

Thyroid cancer incidence rates in females have also increased overall for all of the broad age groups in the UK since the early 1990s.[1-4] The largest increase has been in females aged 50-59, with rates more than tripling (208%) between 1993-1995 and 2012-2014.

Thyroid Cancer (C73), European Age-Standardised Incidence Rates, by Age, Females, UK, 1993-2014

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.

References

  1. Data were provided by the Office for National Statistics on request, June 2016. Similar data can be found here: http://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/healthandsocialcare/conditionsanddiseases/bulletins/cancerregistrationstatisticsengland/previousReleases
  2. Data were provided by ISD Scotland on request, May 2016. 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, June 2016. Similar data can be found here: http://www.wcisu.wales.nhs.uk
  4. Data were provided by the Northern Ireland Cancer Registry on request, May 2016. 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

About this data

Data is for UK, 1993-2014, 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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