Cancer incidence by age

Age

Peak rate of cancer cases, 2014-2016, UK

Trend over time

Age group with greatest increase in incidence rates since the early 1990s, UK

Incidence rates are strongly related to age for all cancers combined, with the highest incidence rates being in older people. In the UK in 2014-2016, on average each year more than a third (36%) of new cases were in people aged 75 and over.[1-4]

Age-specific incidence rates rise steeply from around age 55-59. The highest rates are in the 85 to 89 age group for females and males.

Incidence rates are significantly higher in females than males in the younger age groups and significantly lower in females than males in the older age groups. The gap is widest at age 90+, when the age-specific incidence rate is 1.6 times lower in females than males.

All Cancers (C00-C97 Excl. C44), Average Number of New Cases per Year and Age-Specific Incidence Rates per 100,000 Population, UK, 2014-2016

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
 

Children aged 0-14, and young people aged 15-24, each account for less than one per cent of all new cancer cases in the UK (2014-2016).[1-4] Adults aged 25-49 contribute a tenth (10%) of all new cancer cases, with twice as many cases in females as males in this age group.[1-4] Adults aged 50-74 account for more than half (53%) of all new cancer cases, and elderly people aged 75+ account for more than a third (36%), with slightly fewer cases in females than males in both age groups. There are more people aged 50-74 than aged 75+ in the population overall, hence the number of cancer cases is higher in 50-74s, but incidence rates are higher in 75+s.

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, August 2018. 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 2018. 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, February 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, April 2018. Similar data can be found here: http://www.qub.ac.uk/research-centres/nicr/.

About this data

Data is for UK, 2014-2016, ICD-10 C00-97 Excl. C44.

Last reviewed:

The five most common cancers in males vary considerably by age group, with particular differences in the cancer types diagnosed in children, young people and young adults, compared with the types diagnosed in older people.[1-7]

The Five Most Commonly Diagnosed Cancers in Males, Numbers of New Cases, by Age, UK, 2014-2016

This chart excludes non-melanoma skin cancer in ages 25+ because of known under-reporting. For the 25-49 age group, data in this chart do not sum to the all cancers combined total provided elsewhere, because 'Brain, other central nervous system (CNS) and intracranial tumours' includes tumours that are malignant and non-malignant but only the malignant tumours are included in 'all cancers combined' total. Percentages may not sum to 100% due to rounding. SNS: Sympathetic nervous system. Brain tumours: brain, other central nervous system (CNS) and intracranial tumours, including malignant and non-malignant brain tumours. Germ cell tumours e.g. testicular germ cell tumours. Carcinomas e.g. thyroid, cervix, bowel and ovary tumours, Children: cases 2006-2008, Great Britain. Teenagers and young adults: cases 2000-2009, UK.
 

In boys in Great Britain, leukaemia is the most common cancer, accounting for almost a third (31%) of all cases in 2006-2008.[5,6]

In male young people in the UK, germ cell tumours are the most common cancers, accounting for more than a quarter (27%) of all cases in 2000-2009.[7

In males aged 25-49 in the UK, testicular cancer is the most common cancer, accounting for around 3 in 20 (14%) of all cases in 2014-2016.[1-4]

In males aged 50-74 in the UK, prostate cancer is the most common cancer, accounting for almost a third (30%) of all cases in 2014-2016.[1-4]

In males aged 75+ in the UK, prostate cancer is the most common cancer, accounting for around a quarter (24%) of all cases in 2014-2016.[1-4]

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, August 2018. 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 2018. 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, February 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, April 2018. Similar data can be found here: http://www.qub.ac.uk/research-centres/nicr/.
  5. Childhood Cancer Research Group (link is external). (Accessed December 2012) 
  6. Stiller CA. Childhood cancer in Britain: Incidence, survival, mortality. Oxford: Oxford University Press; 2007.
  7. Data were provided by North West Cancer Intelligence Service (NWCIS) on request.

About this data

Data is for UK, 2014-2016

Ages 0-14 and 15-24: All cancers combined C00-C97, D32-D33, D35.2-D35.4, D42-D43, D44.3-D44.5.

Ages 25-49: Brain ICD-10 C70-C72, C75.1-C75.3, D32-D33, D35.2-D35.4, D42-D43, D44.3-D44.5.

Ages 25-49, 50-74, 75+: Bladder C67; Bowel C18-C20; Breast C50; Cancer of Unknown Primary C77-C80; Cervix C53; Head and Neck C00-C14, C30-C32; Kidney C64-C66,C68; Lung C33-C34; Melanoma Skin Cancer C43; Ovary C56-C57.4; Pancreas C25; Prostate C61; Testis C62; Uterus C54-C55; All cancers combined ICD-10 C00-97 Excl. C44.

Last reviewed:

The five most common cancers in females vary considerably by age group, with particular differences in the cancer types diagnosed in children, young people and young adults, compared with the types diagnosed in older people.[1-7]

The Five Most Commonly Diagnosed Cancers in Females, Numbers of New Cases, by Age, UK, 2014-2016

This chart excludes non-melanoma skin cancer in ages 25+ because of known under-reporting. For the 25-49 age group, data in this chart do not sum to the all cancers combined total provided elsewhere, because 'Brain, other central nervous system (CNS) and intracranial' includes tumours that are malignant and non-malignant but only the malignant tumours are included in 'all cancers combined' total. Percentages may not sum to 100% due to rounding. SNS: Sympathetic nervous system. Brain tumours: brain, other central nervous system (CNS) and intracranial tumours, including malignant and non-malignant brain tumours. Carcinomas e.g. thyroid, cervix, bowel and ovary tumours, Children: cases 2006-2008, Great Britain. Teenagers and young adults: cases 2000-2009, UK.

In girls in Great Britain, leukaemia is the most common cancer, accounting for almost a third (29%) of all cases in 2006-2008.[5,6]

In female young people in the UK, carcinomas are the most common cancers, accounting for almost a third (31%) of all cases in 2000-2009.[7]

In females aged 25-49 in the UK, breast cancer is the most common cancer, accounting for more than 4 in 10 (44%) of all cases in 2014-2016.[1-4]

In females aged 50-74 in the UK, breast cancer is the most common cancer, accounting for around a third (34%) of all cases in 2014-2016.[1-4]

In females aged 75+ in the UK, breast cancer is the most common cancer, accounting for more than a fifth (22%) of all cases in 2014-2016.[1-4]

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, August 2018. 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 2018. 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, February 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, April 2018. Similar data can be found here: http://www.qub.ac.uk/research-centres/nicr/.
  5. Childhood Cancer Research Group (link is external). (Accessed December 2012)
  6. Stiller CA. Childhood cancer in Britain: Incidence, survival, mortality. Oxford: Oxford University Press; 2007.
  7. Data were provided by North West Cancer Intelligence Service (NWCIS) on request.

About this data

Data is for UK, 2014-2016

Ages 0-14 and 15-24: All cancers combined C00-C97, D32-D33, D35.2-D35.4, D42-D43, D44.3-D44.5.

Last reviewed:

All cancers combined incidence rates have increased overall in all broad adult age groups in females and males combined in the UK since the early 1990s.[1-4] Rates in 0-24s have increased by 25%, in 25-49s have increased by 21%, in 50-74s have increased by 12%, in 75+s have increased by 10%.

All Cancers Excluding Non-Melanoma Skin Cancer (ICD-10 C00-97 Excl C44), European Age-Standardised Incidence Rates, By Age, UK, 1993-2016

All cancers for people aged 0-24 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). All cancers for all other age groups do not include non-melanoma skin cancer (ICD-10 codes: C44) or benign/uncertain or unknown behaviour brain, other central nervous system and intracranial tumours.
 

For most cancer types, incidence trends largely reflect changing prevalence of risk factors and improvements in diagnosis and data recording. Recent incidence trends are influenced by risk factor prevalence in years past, and trends by age group reflect risk factor exposure in birth cohorts.

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, August 2018. 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 2018. 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, February 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, April 2018. Similar data can be found here: http://www.qub.ac.uk/research-centres/nicr/.

About this data

Data is for UK, 1993-2016

All cancers for people aged 0-24 includes all malignant tumours (ICD-10 C00-C97) and all non-malignant brain, other central nervous system and intracranial tumours (ICD-10 D32-D33, D35.2-D35.4, D42-D43 and D44.3-D44.5). 

All cancers for all other age groups do not include non-melanoma skin cancer or non-malignant brain, other central nervous system and intracranial tumours ICD-10 C00-97 Excl C44.

Last reviewed:

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