Cancer Statistics for the UK
New cases of cancer, 2016-2018, UK.
Deaths from cancer, 2016-2018, UK.
Survive cancer for 10 or more years, 2010-11, England and Wales
Cancer cases are preventable, UK, 2015
- There are around 375,000 new cancer cases in the UK every year, that's around 1,000 every day (2016-2018).
- In females in the UK, there are more than 182,000 new cancer cases every year (2016-2018).
- In males in the UK, there are around 193,000 new cancer cases every year (2016-2018).
- Every two minutes someone in the UK is diagnosed with cancer.
- Breast, prostate, lung and bowel cancers together accounted for over half (53%) of all new cancer cases in the UK in 2016-2018.
- Incidence rates for all cancers combined in the UK are highest in people aged 85 to 89 (2016-2018).
- Each year more than a third (36%) of all cancer cases in the UK are diagnosed in people aged 75 and over (2016-2018).
- There are more than 166,000 cancer deaths in the UK every year, that's more than 450 every day (2016-2018).
- In females in the UK, there were around 77,800 cancer deaths in 2018.
- In males in the UK, there were around 89,000 cancer deaths in 2018.
- Every four minutes someone in the UK dies from cancer.
- Lung, bowel, breast and prostate cancers together accounted for almost half (45%) of all cancer deaths in the UK in 2018.
- Around a fifth of all cancer deaths are from lung cancer.
- Mortality rates for all cancers combined in the UK are highest in people aged 90+ (2016-2018).
- Each year more than half (54%) of all cancer deaths in the UK are in people aged 75 and over (2016-2018).
- 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.
- 1 in 2 people in the UK born after 1960 will be diagnosed with some form of cancer during their lifetime.
- A person’s risk of developing cancer depends on many factors, including age, genetics, and exposure to risk factors.
- Around 4 in 10 UK cancer cases every year could be prevented, that’s more than 135,000 every year.
- Nearly 112,000 England cases, around 13,000 Scotland cancer cases, around 7,200 Wales cancer cases, and around 3,500 Northern Ireland cancer cases every year could be prevented.
- Smoking is the largest cause of cancer in the UK, accounting for 15% of all cancer cases.
- Almost half (45.5%) of all cancer cases were diagnosed at stage 3 & 4 (out of those with a known stage at diagnosis) in England in 2018 – that’s more than 118,000 cases.
- Almost two-thirds (63.2%) of persons aged 50-74 were screened for bowel cancer with FIT within 6 months of invitation in Scotland in 2019/20.
- Bowel screening uptake within 6 months of invitation has increased slightly in all UK nations in recent years.
- Around 7 in 10 (69.1%) of women aged 50-70 were screened for breast cancer within 6 months of invitation in Wales in 2018/19.
- Breast screening uptake within 6 months of invitation has fallen slightly in England in recent years.
- More than 7 in 10 (72.3%) of people with a cervix aged 25-64 were screened for cervical cancer within the previous 3.5 years (25-49) or 5 years (50-64) in Northern Ireland in 2017/18.
- Age-appropriate cervical screening coverage has fallen slightly in England and Scotland in recent years.
- Almost 4 in 10 (37.8%) of all cancer cases were diagnosed through an urgent suspected cancer referral (two-week wait) in England in 2016.
- Almost 6 in 10 (58%) of all cancer cases diagnosed through an emergency route were at the latest stage, compared with around 2 in 10 (22%) of cases diagnosed though an urgent suspected cancer referral (two-week wait) in England in 2015-16.
- 'Two-week wait' standards are met by all countries, '31-day wait' is met by all but Northern Ireland and Wales, and '62-day wait' is not met by any country for all cancers combined.
- 45% of patients diagnosed with cancer have surgery to remove the tumor as part of their primary cancer treatment. 27% of patients have radiotherapy, and 28% have chemotherapy.
About this data
The latest data is used where possible. Source years, coding and counting information are specified in each section.
You are welcome to reuse this Cancer Research UK 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.
Graphics (when reused unaltered): Credit: Cancer Research UK.
Graphics (when recreated with differences): Based on a graphic created by Cancer Research UK.
When Cancer Research UK material is used for commercial reasons, we encourage a donation to our life-saving research.
Send a cheque payable to Cancer Research UK to: Cancer Research UK, 2 Redman Place, London, E20 1JQ or
Join the conversation and follow @CRUKHCPs for news, updates and opinion.
We are grateful to the many organisations across the UK which collect, analyse, and share the data which we use, and to the patients and public who consent for their data to be used. Find out more about the sources which are essential for our statistics.