- Cancer is relatively rare in teenage and young adults (TYAs), accounting for less than 1% of cancers at all ages.
- In the UK, around 2,200 TYAs are diagnosed with cancer every year.
- Lymphomas are the most common group of cancers in TYAs.
- Lymphomas, carcinomas and germ cell tumours collectively account for more than half of all cancers diagnosed in 15-24 year-olds.
- The incidence rate of TYA cancer in the UK has increased by around a fifth since the mid-1990s.
Teenagers’ and young adults’ cancers statistics
New cases of teenagers' and young adults' cancers, per year in 2009-2011, UK
Deaths from teenagers' and young adults' cancers, per year in 2009-2011, UK
Survive teenagers' and young adults' cancers for 5 or more years, 2001-2005, England and Wales
- Cancer is the leading cause of death from disease in teenage and young adults (TYAs) in the UK, accounting for 9% of all deaths in males and 15% of all deaths in females aged 15–24.
- Around 310 TYAs die from cancer each year in the UK.
- Brain, other CNS and intracranial tumours are the most common cause of cancer death in TYAs.
- The death rate from TYA cancer in the UK has halved since the mid-1970s.
- Survival for teenage and young adult (TYA) cancer is improving.
- More than 80% of TYAs diagnosed with cancer in the UK survive for at least five years.
- Nearly all TYAs diagnosed with thyroid carcinoma are cured.
- Survival is significantly lower in TYAs than in children for several cancer types. Factors relating to diagnosis, different treatment protocols and low levels of participation in clinical trials may explain some of the differences.
- A teenager or young adult’s risk of developing cancer depends on factors including age, genetics and other risk factors (including some potentially avoidable lifestyle factors).
- Lifestyle risk factors probably have less impact on teenage and young adult cancer risk than adult cancer risk, because this age group has had less time exposed to these factors. Overall, evidence on teenage and young adult cancer risk factors is limited, mainly because of the relative rarity and diversity of this group of cancers.
- Teenage and young adult lymphoma risk may relate to certain infections, but evidence is unclear.
- Teenage and young adult carcinoma risk may relate to certain infections (e.g. cervix carcinoma) and genetic conditions (e.g. bowel and thyroid carcinoma), but evidence is unclear.
- Teenage and young adult germ cell tumour risk may relate to certain congenital disorders (e.g. testicular germ cell tumours), but evidence is unclear.
The latest statistics available for teenage and young adult cancer are; incidence 2009-2011, mortality 2009-2011, and survival 2001-2005.
Statistics for specific diagnostic groups and subtypes in the UK are also available for 2000-2009.
'Teenagers and young adults' refers to 15 to 24 year olds, inclusively.
Due to the rarity of cancer in teenagers and young adults compared with the adult population, incidence rates are quoted per million rather than per 100,000 population.
Survival statistics give an overall picture of survival and (unless otherwise stated) include all adults (15-99) diagnosed, at all ages,
In risk factor statistics,
See on terminology used for statistics and reporting of cancer, and the methods used to calculate some of the statistics are also available.
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.
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.