Cancer statistics explained

We've referenced some statistics across advertisements as part of our 'Because of You' campaign. Here we explain more about where these statistics have come from and where you can find out more about them.

  • Half (50%) of people diagnosed with cancer in England and Wales survive their disease for ten years or more (2010-11).
  • Cancer survival is higher in women than men.
  • Cancer survival is improving and has doubled in the last 40 years in the UK.
  • Cancer survival is generally higher in people diagnosed aged under 40 years old, with the exception of breast, bowel and prostate cancers, where survival is highest in middle age.
Estimated number of additional cancer survivors in the UK compared to the 2010 baseline.
This figure gives an approximate projection of the number of extra cancer survivors per day, compared to baseline data for projections in Maddams et al. (2012 ‘Projections of cancer prevalence in the United Kingdom, 2010–2040’;

Baseline data for the projections in this paper were extracted from the cancer registration data in 2009. This figure was calculated by the Statistical Information Team at Cancer Research UK based on figures from Maddams et al. (2012).

Maddams et al. (2012) estimated cancer prevalence in the UK in 2010, 2020, 2030 and 2040 using cancer incidence and survival projections. Here, we have defined a cancer survivor as someone who is alive 5 years following a diagnosis of cancer, which corresponds to the prevalence 5 years post-diagnosis reported by Maddams et al. (2012). 

We first estimated the cancer prevalence in 2017, 2022, 2027, and 2037 by assuming a linear change between the time points in Maddams et al., and adding the relevant proportion to the most recent prevalence number. For example, the estimate of the number of cancer survivors in 2017 was calculated as the number of cancer survivors in 2010 plus 70% of the difference in numbers of cancer survivors between 2010 and 2020. We then calculated the difference between the rounded estimates of 2010 and 2017 prevalence of UK cancer survivors. We divided this difference by the total number of days between the two points, to give a number per day of people still alive 5 years following a cancer diagnosis (cancer survivors). Due to these assumptions and the calculations being based on rounded prevalence estimates, these numbers are approximate. This was performed separately for males and females and then added together to give a number for persons.

Since 2008, Cancer Research UK has supported 500 clinical trials.  Over 200,000 patients have participated in Cancer Research UK supported research.

Both figures are since 2008. Trials including: CRC Early phase/feasibility and late phase awards (funded and endorsed ), NAC trial grants including. Combinations Alliance (funded and endorsed), CDD projects that have progressed into clinical (i.e.: not in pre-clinical phase).

Today in Great Britain more than 8 in 10 (82%) children diagnosed with cancer survive for five years or more.

Source: National Registry of Childhood Tumours

Progress Report, 2012