Teenagers’ and young adults’ cancers statistics

Cases

New cases of teenagers' and young adults' cancers, per year in 2012-2014, UK

Deaths

Deaths from teenagers' and young adults' cancers, per year in 2012-2014, UK

Survival

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

Not well understood

Teenagers' and young adults' cancers risk factors are not well understood, mainly because this group of cancers are relatively rare and diverse

  • There were around 2,400 new cases of cancer in teenagers and young adults each year in the UK in 2012-2014, that’s around 7 cases diagnosed every day.
  • In male teenagers and young adults, there were around 1,200 cases of cancer each year in the UK in 2012-2014.
  • In female teenagers and young adults, there were around 1,200 cases of cancer each year in the UK in 2012-2014.
  • Cancer in teenagers and young adults accounts for less than 1% of all new cancer cases in the UK (2012-2014).
  • Since the late 1970s, cancer incidence rates in teenagers and young adults have increased by almost three-fifths (55%) in Great Britain. The increase is larger in females where rates have increased by more than two-thirds (69%), than in males where rates have increased by more than two-fifths (44%).
  • Over the last decade, cancer incidence rates in teenagers and young adults have increased by around a tenth (9%) in the UK, though this includes an increase in females (16%, less than a fifth) and stable rates in males.
  • Lymphomas, carcinomas and germ cell tumours account for almost a third of all cancers diagnosed in teenagers and young adults.
  • Lymphomas are the most common group of cancers in teenagers and young adults.
  • In Europe, around 14,700 new cases of cancer in teenagers and young adults were estimated to have been diagnosed in 2008.
  • Worldwide, around 173,000 new cases of cancer in teenagers and young adults were estimated to have been diagnosed in 2008, with incidence rates varying across the world.

See more in-depth teenagers' and young adults' cancers incidence statistics

  • There were around 280 cancer deaths in teenagers and young adults each year in the UK in 2012-2014, that’s more than 5 deaths every week.
  • In male teenagers and young adults in the UK, there were around 160 cancer deaths each year in 2012-2014.
  • In female teenagers and young adults in the UK, there were around 120 cancer deaths each year in 2012-2014.
  • Cancer in teenagers and young adults accounts for less than 1% of all cancer deaths in the UK (2012-2014).
  • Since the early 1970s, cancer mortality rates in teenagers and young adults have decreased by almost three-fifths (58%) in the UK. The decrease is larger in males (61%), than in females (53%).
  • Over the last decade, TYA cancer mortality rates in teenagers and young adults have decreased by around a quarter (26%) in the UK, with a similar decrease in males (27%) and females (25%).
  • In Europe, around 27,100 teenagers and young adults were estimated to have died from cancer in 2012.
  • Worldwide, around 390,000 teenagers and young adults were estimated to have died from cancer in 2012.

See more in-depth teenagers' and young adults' cancers mortality statistics

  • More than 8 in 10 (82-85%) teenagers and young adults diagnosed with cancer in the UK survive their disease for five years or more (2001-05).
  • Teenagers' and young adults' cancers survival is higher in females than males.
  • Survival for teenagers' and young adults' cancers is improving and has increased in the last 40 years in the UK.
  • In the 1990s, around three-quarters of teenagers and young adults diagnosed with cancer survived their disease beyond five years, now it's more than 8 in 10.
  • Throughout Europe, teenagers and young adults cancer survival is highest in Northern Europe, lowest in the Eastern region and survival for England is below the average for Europe.

See more in-depth teenagers' and young adults' cancers survival statistics

  • A person’s risk of developing cancer depends on many factors, including age, genetics, and exposure to 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.

See more in-depth teenagers' and young adults' cancers risk factors

  • Emergency presentation and GP referral (not ‘two-week wait’) are the most common routes to diagnosis of cancer in teenagers and young adults.
  • Most cancers in teenagers and young adults are treated with surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

See more in-depth teenagers’ and young adults’ cancers diagnosis and treatment statistics

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The latest statistics available for teenagers' and young adults' cancers are; incidence of all cancers combined 2012-2014, incidence by cancer type 2000-2009, mortality of all cancers combined 2012-2014, and survival 2001-2005. Survival by age data for the UK is not currently available for teenagers’ and young adults’ cancers.

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 teenagers' and young adults' 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 teenagers' and young adults' 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).

European Age-Standardised Rates were calculated using the 1976 European Standard Population (ESP) unless otherwise stated as calculated with ESP2013. ASRs calculated with ESP2013 are not comparable with ASRs calculated with ESP1976.

'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 Open a glossary item 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.

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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.

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