Teenagers’ and young adults’ cancers statistics

Cases

New cases of teenagers' and young adults' cancers, per year in 2009-2011, UK

Deaths

Deaths from teenagers' and young adults' cancers, per year in 2009-2011, UK

Survival

Survive teenagers' and young adults' cancers for 5 or more years, 2001-2005, England and Wales

  • 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.

Read more in-depth teenage and young adult cancer incidence statistics

  • 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.

Read more in-depth teenage and young adult cancer mortality statistics

  • 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.

Read more in-depth teenage and young adult cancer survival statistics

  • 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.

Read more in-depth teenage and young adult cancer risk factors

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.

The ICD code Open a glossary item for all teenage and young adult cancers incidence are ICD-10 C00-C97 excluding C44 (all invasive cancers excluding non-melanoma skin cancers), and ICD-10 D32-D33, D35.2-D35.4, D42-D43 and D44.3-D44.5 (all benign, uncertain brain, other central nervous system [CNS] and intracranial tumours).

The ICD code Open a glossary item for all teenage and young adult cancers mortality are ICD-10 C00-C97 (all malignant tumours), and ICD-10 D32-D33, D35.2-D35.4, D42-D43 and D44.3-D44.5 (all benign, uncertain brain, other central nervous system [CNS] and intracranial tumours).

'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, stages Open a glossary item and co-morbidities Open a glossary item. The survival time experienced by an individual patient may be much higher or lower, depending on specific patient and tumour characteristics.

In Risk factor statistics, meta-analyses 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.

See on terminology used for statistics and reporting of cancer, and the methods used to calculate some of the statistics are also available.

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.

Citation

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