Children's cancer statistics

Cases

New cases of children's cancers, per year in 2013-2015, UK

 

Deaths

Deaths from cancer in children, 2014-2016, UK.

Survival

Survive children's cancers for 5 or more years, 2006-10, England and Wales

Not well understood

Children's cancers risk factors are not well understood, mainly because this group of cancers are relatively rare and diverse
 

 

 

  • There are around 1,800 new cancer cases in children in the UK every year, that's around 5 every day (2013-2015).
  • Cancer in children accounts for less than 1% of all new cancer cases in the UK (2013-2015).
  • In boys in the UK, there are around 990 new cancer cases in the UK every year (2013-2015).
  • In girls in the UK, there are around 830 new cancer cases in the UK every year (2013-2015).
  • Among children in the UK, cancer incidence rates are highest in those aged 0-4 (2012-2014).
  • Since the early 1990s, incidence rates for cancers in children have increased by around a seventh (13%) in the UK. Rates in boys have increased by around a tenth (11%), and rates in girls have increased by around a seventh (15%).
  • Over the last decade, incidence rates for cancers in children have remained stable in the UK. Rates in boys have remained stable, and rates in girls have remained stable.
  • Leukaemia, brain, other CNS and intracranial tumours and lymphomas account for more than two-thirds of all cancers diagnosed in children.
  • Leukaemia is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in children.
  • Around 1 child per 500 in Great Britain will be diagnosed with cancer by age 14, it is estimated.
  • In Great Britain at least 33,000 people were still alive at the end of 2012, having previously been diagnosed with a childhood cancer and having survived that cancer for at least five years.

See more in-depth children's cancers incidence statistics

  • There are around 230 cancer deaths in children in the UK every year, that's more than 4 every week (2014-2016).
  • Cancer in children accounts for less than 1% of all cancer deaths in the UK (2014-2016).
  • In boys in the UK, there are around 130 cancer deaths in the UK every year (2014-2016).
  • In girls in the UK, there are around 100 cancer deaths in the UK every year (2014-2016).
  • Brain, other CNS and intracranial tumours are the most common cause of children's cancer death.
  • Since the early 1970s, mortality rates for cancers in children have decreased by seven-tenths (70%) in the UK. Rates in boys have decreased by seven-tenths (70%), and rates in girls have decreased by seven-tenths (70%).
  • Over the last decade, mortality rates for cancers in children have decreased by more than a quarter (27%) in the UK. Rates in boys have decreased by around a quarter (26%), and rates in girls have decreased by almost a third (29%).

See more in-depth children's cancers mortality statistics

  • Around three-quarters (76%) of children diagnosed with cancer in Great Britain survive their disease for ten years or more (2001-05).
  • More than 8 in 10 (82%) children diagnosed with cancer in Great Britain survive their disease for five years or more (2006-10).
  • Around 9 in 10 (91%) children diagnosed with cancer in Great Britain survive their disease for one year or more (2006-10).
  • Cancer survival is similar for children whatever age they are diagnosed.
  • Survival for children's cancers is improving and has more than doubled in the last 40 years in Great Britain.
  • In the 1970s, more than a third of children diagnosed with cancer survived their disease beyond ten years, now it's around three-quarters.
  • At least 15,000 more children have survived their cancer than would have done if survival had remained as it was in the 1970s.
  • Throughout Europe, children's cancer survival is highest in Northern Europe, lowest in the Eastern region and survival for the British Isles is roughly in the middle.

See more in-depth children's 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 cancer risk in childhood than adult cancer risk, because children have had less time to be exposed to these factors. Overall, evidence on children's cancer risk factors is limited, mainly because of the relative rarity and diversity of this group of cancers.

The latest available statistics for children's cancer in the UK are; incidence of all cancers combined 2013-2015, incidence by cancer type 2006-2008, incidence by cancer subtype 1996-2005, mortality from all cancers combined 2014-2016, mortality by cancer type 1996-2005, and survival 2006-2010.

Statistics for specific cancer types are also available for earlier time periods in Great Britain.

The ICD codes Open a glossary item for all children's cancers incidence and survival are ICD-10 C00-C97 excluding C44 (all malignant neoplasms excluding non-melanoma skin cancer), and ICD-10 D32-D33, D35.2-D35.4, D42-D43 and D44.3-D44.5 (all benign and uncertain or unknown behaviour brain, other central nervous system [CNS] and intracranial tumours).

The ICD codes for all children's 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 and unknown brain, other central nervous system [CNS] and intracranial tumours).

'Childhood' or 'children' refers to those persons aged 0 to 14, inclusively.

Cancer is rare in children compared with the adult population and for this reason incidence and mortality rates are presented per million rather than per 100,000 population. The rarity of cancer in childhood also means that there is much international collaboration for children's cancer research, so World (rather than European) age-standardised rates (AS rates) are presented to allow comparisons with international publications. However, Europeans AS rates are available to download.

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.

Meta-analyses and systematic reviews 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 are reported where such aggregated data are lacking.

Time periods for the follow-up statistics are detailed within the content.

See information and explanations 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 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.

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