Cancer mortality statistics

Deaths

Deaths from cancer, 2016, UK.

Common cancers

Almost half of all cancer deaths are lung, bowel, breast or prostate cancer, 2016, UK

Proportion of UK deaths

Cancer causes more than one in four of all deaths, 2016, UK

  • There are around 164,000 cancer deaths in the UK every year, that's around 450 every day (2014-2016).
  • Cancer accounts for more than a quarter (28%) of all deaths in the UK (2016).
  • In males in the UK, there were around 88,200 cancer deaths in 2016.
  • In females in the UK, there were around 77,900 cancer deaths in 2016.
  • Every four minutes someone in the UK dies from cancer.
  • Since the early 1970s, mortality rates for all cancers combined have decreased by almost a sixth (16%) in the UK. Rates in males have decreased by around a quarter (24%), and rates in females have decreased by a tenth (10%).
  • Over the last decade, mortality rates for all cancers combined have decreased by around a tenth (9%) in the UK. Rates in males have decreased by more than a tenth (12%), and rates in females have decreased by almost a tenth (8%).
  • An estimated 832,000 cancer deaths had been avoided in the UK by 2016 because mortality rates dropped from their peak levels in the 1980s.
  • Mortality rates for all cancers combined are projected to fall by 15% in the UK between 2014 and 2035, to 280 deaths per 100,000 people by 2035.
  • Cancer causes more than one in four of all deaths in the UK (2016).
  • UK mortality is ranked lower than two-thirds of Europe.
  • UK mortality is ranked higher than two-thirds of the world.

See more in-depth cancer mortality statistics for all cancers combined

  • Lung, bowel, breast and prostate cancers together accounted for almost half (45%) of all cancer deaths in the UK in 2016.
  • Around a fifth of all cancer deaths are from lung cancer.
  • Liver cancer has shown the fastest increase in mortality in both males and females over the past decade in the UK.
  • Stomach cancer has shown the fastest decrease in mortality over the past decade in the UK for both males and females.
  • For lung cancer the mortality trend differs between the sexes.
  • Mortality rates are projected to fall for most types of cancer in the UK between 2014 and 2035.
  • Among cancer types where rates are projected to rise in the UK between 2014 and 2035, the size of the increase ranges from 7% (thyroid cancer) to 58% (liver cancer).
  • Among cancer types where rates are projected to fall in the UK between 2014 and 2035, the size of the decrease ranges from less than 1% (laryngeal cancer) to 46% (mesothelioma).

See more in-depth cancer mortality statistics for common cancers

  • Each year more than half (53%) of all cancer deaths in the UK are in people aged 75 and over (2014-2016).
  • Mortality rates for all cancers combined in the UK are highest in people aged 90+ (2014-2016).
  • The most common causes of cancer death vary considerably by age group; different cancer types tend to cause death in young people compared with older people.
  • Since the early 1970s, mortality rates for all cancers combined have decreased overall in most broad age groups in the UK. The decrease is largest in people aged 0-24 where rates have decreased by almost two thirds (63%).

See more in-depth cancer mortality statistics by age

  • Cancer deaths in England are more common in people living in the most deprived areas.
  • There are around 19,000 extra deaths from cancer, per year, in England because of socio-economic variation.

See more in-depth cancer mortality statistics by deprivation gradient

The latest mortality statistics available for all cancers in the UK are 2016.

The ICD codes Open a glossary item for mortality from all cancers combined are ICD-10 C00-C97, except for where cancer is compared with other causes of death – in line with source data, the ICD codes for this are C00-D48.

ICD codes for cancer type are detailed within the types of cancer content.

European Age-Standardised Rates (ASRs) were calculated using the 1976 European Standard Population (ESP1976) unless otherwise stated as calculated with ESP2013. ASRs calculated using ESP2013 are not comparable with those using ESP1976.

Deprivation gradient statistics were calculated using England mortality data for two time periods: 2002-2006 and 2007-2011. The 1997-2001 mortality data were only used for the all cancers combined group as this time period includes the change in coding from ICD-9 to ICD-10. The deprivation quintiles were calculated using the Income domain scores from the Index of Multiple Deprivation (IMD) from the following years: 2004, 2007 and 2010.

Local Cancer Statistics

Local level cancer statistics; search profiles by area, constituency or health board in the UK..

Interested in an overview for Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland?

Cancer stats explained

See information and explanations on terminology used for statistics and reporting of cancer, and the methods used to calculate some of our statistics.

Citation

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, Angel Building, 407 St John Street, London, EC1V 4AD or

Donate online

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.

Rate this page:

Currently rated: 3.4 out of 5 based on 94 votes
Thank you!
We've recently made some changes to the site, tell us what you think