Children's cancers incidence statistics

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Cases

New cases of children's cancer, 2015-2017, UK.

 

Proportion of all cases

Percentage children's cancer is of total cancer cases, 2015-2017 average, UK

 

Age

Peak rate of children's cancer cases, 2015-2017, UK

 

Trend over time

Change in children's cancers incidence rates since the early 1990s, UK

 

Cancer in children accounts for less than 1% of all new cancer cases in the UK (2015-2017).[1-4]

46% of children's cancer cases in the UK are in girls, and 54% are in boys.

Children's cancer incidence rates (World age-standardised (AS) rates Open a glossary item) are similar to the UK average in all the UK constituent countries.

Children's Cancers (C00-C97, D32-D33, D35.2-D35.4, D42-D43, D44.3-D44.5), Average Number of New Cases per Year, Crude and World Age-Standardised (AS) Incidence Rates per Million Population, Ages 0-14, UK, 2015-2017

  England Scotland Wales Northern Ireland UK
Girls Cases 740 66 35 25 866
Crude Rate 152.8 157.9 138.4 138.5 152.1
AS Rate 156.1 163.9 142.4 142.4 155.6
AS Rate - 95% LCI 149.6 141.2 115.3 110.0 149.6
AS Rate - 95% UCI 162.6 186.7 169.5 174.9 161.6
Boys Cases 853 77 48 34 1,012
Crude Rate 167.8 175.7 177.7 183.4 169.3
AS Rate 171.6 178.8 184.3 188.9 173.2
AS Rate - 95% LCI 165.0 155.8 154.1 152.4 167.1
AS Rate - 95% UCI 178.3 201.8 214.5 225.4 179.4
Children Cases 1,593 144 83 59 1,878
Crude Rate 160.5 167.0 158.5 161.5 160.9
AS Rate 164.0 171.5 163.8 166.2 164.6
AS Rate - 95% LCI 159.4 155.3 143.5 141.7 160.3
AS Rate - 95% UCI 168.7 187.7 184.2 190.7 168.9

95% LCL and 95% UCL are the 95% lower and upper confidence limits Open a glossary item around the AS Rate Open a glossary item

References

  1. Data were provided by the National Cancer Registration and Analysis Service (part of Public Health England), on request through the Office for Data Release, November 2019. Similar data can be found here: https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/healthandsocialcare/conditionsanddiseases/bulletins/cancerregistrationstatisticsengland/previousReleases
  2. Data were provided by ISD Scotland on request, April 2019. Similar data can be found here: http://www.isdscotland.org/Health-Topics/Cancer/Publications.
  3. Data were provided by the Welsh Cancer Intelligence and Surveillance Unit, Health Intelligence Division, Public Health Wales on request, December 2019. Similar data can be found here: http://www.wcisu.wales.nhs.uk.
  4. Data were provided by the Northern Ireland Cancer Registry on request, May 2019. Similar data can be found here: http://www.qub.ac.uk/research-centres/nicr/.

About this data

Data is for UK, 2015-2017, ICD-10 C00-C97, D32-D33, D35.2-D35.4, D42-D43, D44.3-D44.5.

All children's cancers includes all malignant tumours (ICD-10 codes: C00-C97), and all non-malignant brain, other central nervous system and intracranial tumours (ICD-10 codes: D32-D33, D35.2-D35.4, D42-D43 and D44.3-D44.5).

Last reviewed:

The highest incidence rates for all children's cancers combined are in the under-fives for both sexes, with almost half (46%) of all cases in children being diagnosed in this age group (UK, 2015-2017).[1-4] This pattern varies greatly by cancer type.[5]

Childhood cancer usually has no known cause. For most cancer types incidence increases with age, which largely reflects cell DNA damage accumulating over time. Damage can result from biological processes or from exposure to risk factors. A drop or plateau in incidence in the oldest age groups often indicates reduced diagnostic activity perhaps due to general ill health.

References

  1. Data were provided by the National Cancer Registration and Analysis Service (part of Public Health England), on request through the Office for Data Release, November 2019. Similar data can be found here: https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/healthandsocialcare/conditionsanddiseases/bulletins/cancerregistrationstatisticsengland/previousReleases
  2. Data were provided by ISD Scotland on request, April 2019. Similar data can be found here: http://www.isdscotland.org/Health-Topics/Cancer/Publications.
  3. Data were provided by the Welsh Cancer Intelligence and Surveillance Unit, Health Intelligence Division, Public Health Wales on request, December 2019. Similar data can be found here: http://www.wcisu.wales.nhs.uk.
  4. Data were provided by the Northern Ireland Cancer Registry on request, May 2019. Similar data can be found here: http://www.qub.ac.uk/research-centres/nicr/.
  5. Data were provided by Charles Stiller/Childhood Cancer Research Group on request, 1996-2005.

About this data

Data is for UK, 2015-2017, ICD-10 C00-C97, D32-D33, D35.2-D35.4, D42-D43, D44.3-D44.5.

Last reviewed:

World age-standardised (AS) incidence rates for cancers in children (girls and boys combined) increased by 15% in the UK between 1993-1995 and 2015-2017.[1-4] The increase was of a similar size in girls and boys.

For cancers in girls, AS incidence rates in the UK increased by 18% between 1993-1995 and 2015-2017. For cancers in boys, AS incidence rates in the UK increased by 13% between 1993-1995 and 2015-2017.

Over the last decade in the UK (between 2005-2007 and 2015-2017), AS incidence rates for cancers in children (girls and boys combined) increased by 10%.[1-4] In girls AS incidence rates increased by 12% and in boys rates increased by 8%.

Children's Cancers (ICD-10 C00-C97, D32-D33, D35.2-D35.4, D42-D43, D44.3-D44.5), World Age-Standardised Incidence Rates, Ages 0-14, UK, 1993-2016

All children’s cancers for England, Wales and Scotland includes all malignant tumours (ICD-10 codes: C00-C97), and all non-malignant brain, other central nervous system and intracranial tumours (ICD-10 codes: D32-D33, D35.2-D35.4, D42-D43 and D44.3-D44.5.
 

These trends include non-malignant brain, other central nervous system and intracranial tumours because they account for a relatively high proportion of cases in this age group. However trends for these tumours are unreliable pre-2000s, and largely reflect improved data collection rather than true increased incidence. Percentage increases since the late 1970s and early 1990s are very slightly smaller if these tumours are excluded.

References

  1. Data were provided by the National Cancer Registration and Analysis Service (part of Public Health England), on request through the Office for Data Release, November 2019. Similar data can be found here: https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/healthandsocialcare/conditionsanddiseases/bulletins/cancerregistrationstatisticsengland/previousReleases
  2. Data were provided by ISD Scotland on request, April 2019. Similar data can be found here: http://www.isdscotland.org/Health-Topics/Cancer/Publications.
  3. Data were provided by the Welsh Cancer Intelligence and Surveillance Unit, Health Intelligence Division, Public Health Wales on request, December 2019. Similar data can be found here: http://www.wcisu.wales.nhs.uk.
  4. Data were provided by the Northern Ireland Cancer Registry on request, May 2019. Similar data can be found here: http://www.qub.ac.uk/research-centres/nicr/.

About this data

Data is for UK, 1993-2017, ICD-10 C00-C97, D32-D33, D35.2-D35.4, D42-D43, D44.3-D44.5.

All children's cancers includes all malignant tumours (ICD-10 codes: C00-C97) and all non-malignant brain, other central nervous system and intracranial tumours (ICD-10 codes: D32-D33, D35.2-D35.4, D42-D43 and D44.3-D44.5).

Last reviewed:

Children’s cancers are classified into 12 broad diagnostic groups (each of which can be further subdivided) according to the International Classification of Childhood Cancer, Third Edition (ICCC-3).[1]

The most common groups of children’s cancers in the UK are leukaemias (around 3 in 10 cases), brain, other CNS and intracranial tumours (around 2 in 10 cases), and lymphomas (around 1 in 10 cases) (2000-2011).[2]

References

  1. Steliarova-Foucher E, Stiller C, et al. International Classification of Childhood Cancer, third edition. Cancer 2005;103:1457-67.
  2. Cancer Intelligence Team at Cancer Research UK, August 2019. Based on International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) International Incidence of Childhood Cancer, UK 2000-2011 (available from http://iicc.iarc.fr/includes/results/registries/Europe/Europe_UK.pdf(link is external), accessed August 2019) and Public Health England (PHE) Number of newly diagnosed cancers registered among children under 15 years of age and resident in England 2001 to 2015 (available from http://www.ncin.org.uk/view?rid=3716(link is external), accessed August 2019). IARC UK data do not break down to the finest level of children's cancer classification (e.g. Iai), so data at this level were calculated by applying ratios from the PHE England data, to the available IARC UK data.

About this data

Data is for UK, 2000-2011, International Classification of Childhood Cancer, Third Edition (ICCC-3)

Last reviewed:

At the end of 2005, it was estimated that around 26,000 people in Great Britain were long-term childhood cancer survivors, alive who had survived five years or longer after being diagnosed with childhood cancer.[1] It is estimated that by the end of 2012 there will be at least 33,000 people in the UK who are alive having previously been diagnosed with a childhood cancer and who survived their cancer for at least five years.[2] These figures are based on data going back to before the 1960s and are different to prevalence figures reported elsewhere on the site.

References

  1. Stiller CA. Childhood cancer in Britain: Incidence, survival, mortality. Oxford: Oxford University Press; 2007.
  2. Data were provided by Charles Stiller/Childhood Cancer Research Group on request, October 2012.

About this data

Data is for: All UK patients who had been diagnosed with cancer in childhood before December 31st, ICD-10 C00-C97 plus D32-D33, D35.2-D35.4, D42-D43, D44.3-D44.5

Last reviewed:

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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.