Cancer mortality for all cancers combined

Deaths

Deaths from cancer, 2017-2019, UK.

Proportion of UK deaths

Cancer causes more than one in four of all deaths, 2020, UK.

Trend over time

Change in cancer mortality rates since the early 1970s, UK

For cancers versus other causes of death see link.

47% of deaths for all cancers combined in the UK are in females, and 53% are in males (2017-2019).[a href=”#ref-"1-4] This reflects the sex differences in cancer incidence (higher in men than women) and survival (higher in women than men).

All cancer mortality rates (European age-standardised Open a glossary item (AS) rates) in the UK are significantly lower in females than in males (2017-2019).[1-4]

All cancers combined mortality rates (European age-standardised Open a glossary item (AS) rates) for persons are significantly higher than the UK average in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and significantly lower than the UK average in England.[1-4]

For all cancers combined there are both mortality and incidence differences between the countries.[1-4]

All Cancers Combined (C00-C97), Annual Average Number of Deaths, Crude and European Age-Standardised (AS) Mortality Rates per 100,000 Persons Population, UK, 2017-2019

  England Scotland Wales Northern Ireland UK
Female Deaths 63,725 7,900 4,248 2,119 77,992
Crude Rate 225.2 283.0 266.9 221.8 231.8
AS Rate 219.4 267.6 236.1 236.0 224.8
AS Rate - 95% LCL 218.4 264.2 232.0 230.2 223.9
AS Rate - 95% UCL 220.4 271.0 240.2 241.8 225.7
Male Deaths 73,518 8,400 4,892 2,340 89,150
Crude Rate 265.8 316.9 316.1 252.6 271.9
AS Rate 315.5 368.7 334.7 335.8 321.4
AS Rate - 95% LCL 314.2 364.2 329.3 327.9 320.2
AS Rate - 95% UCL 316.8 373.3 340.1 343.7 322.6
Persons Deaths 137,243 16,300 9,140 4,459 167,142
Crude Rate 245.2 299.5 291.2 236.9 251.6
AS Rate 260.0 309.0 277.9 276.8 265.5
AS Rate - 95% LCL 259.2 306.3 274.6 272.2 264.8
AS Rate - 95% UCL 260.8 311.8 281.2 281.5 266.3

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

References

  1. England and Wales data were accessed from Nomis mortality statistics by underlying cause, sex and age, November 2021: Nomis mortality statistics by underlying cause, sex and age.
  2. Scotland data were provided by ISD Scotland on request, November 2021. Similar data can be found here: http://www.isdscotland.org/Health-Topics/Cancer/Publications/index.asp(link is external).
  3. Northern Ireland data were provided by the Northern Ireland Cancer Registry on request, February 2022. Similar data can be found here: http://www.qub.ac.uk/research-centres/nicr/.
  4. Population data were published by the Office for National statistics, accessed July 2020. The data can be found here: Population estimates for the UK, England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, provisional: mid-2019.

About this data

Data is for UK, 2017-2019. All cancers combined mortality ICD-10 C00-C97.

Last reviewed:

All cancers combined European age-standardised (AS) Open a glossary item (AS) mortality rates for females and males combined decreased by 19% in the UK between 1971-1973 and 2017-2019.[1-4] The decrease was larger in males than in females.

Decreasing mortality is largely due to improved survival – and is despite a small increase in incidence rates.

For females, all cancers combined AS mortality rates in the UK decreased by 13% between 1971-1973 and 2017-2019. For males, all cancers combined AS mortality rates in the UK decreased by 27% between 1971-1973 and 2017-2019.

Over the last decade in the UK (between 2007-2009 and 2017-2019 all cancers combined AS mortality rates for females and males combined decreased by 10%. In females AS mortality rates decreased by 9%, and in males rates decreased by 12%.

All Cancers (C00-C97), European Age-Standardised Mortality Rates per 100,000 Persons Population, UK, 1971-2019

References

  1. England and Wales data were accessed from Nomis mortality statistics by underlying cause, sex and age, November 2021: Nomis mortality statistics by underlying cause, sex and age.
  2. Scotland data were provided by ISD Scotland on request, November 2021. Similar data can be found here: http://www.isdscotland.org/Health-Topics/Cancer/Publications/index.asp(link is external).
  3. Northern Ireland data were provided by the Northern Ireland Cancer Registry on request, February 2022. Similar data can be found here: http://www.qub.ac.uk/research-centres/nicr/.
  4. Population data were published by the Office for National statistics, accessed July 2020. The data can be found here: Population estimates for the UK, England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, provisional: mid-2019.

About this data

Data is for UK, 1971-2019, C00-C97.

Cancers in children and young people (aged 0-24) are best classified using a different system to cancers in adults, so the figures presented here may not correspond with those elsewhere.

Last reviewed:

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.[1

This includes around 561,000 male deaths avoided since the male mortality rate peaked in 1985, and around 271,000 female deaths avoided since the female mortality rate peaked in 1989.

All Cancers Combined (C00-C97), Observed Deaths, and Expected Deaths if Mortality Rates Had Not Fallen from Peak, UK, 1979-2016

References

  1. Calculated by the Statistical Information Team at Cancer Research UK, 2018, based on method set out in Siegel R, Ward E, Brawley O, Jemal A., Cancer statistics, 2011: the impact of eliminating socioeconomic and racial disparities on premature cancer deaths. CA Cancer J Clin. 2011 Jul-Aug;61(4):212-36.

About this data

Data is for UK, 1971-2016, ICD-10 C00-C97.

The number of avoided cancer deaths is estimated by comparing the actual number of cancer deaths observed, with number of cancer deaths expected if mortality rates had not fallen from their overall peak. The number of cancer deaths expected is calculated by applying the cancer mortality rate in the overall peak year, to the total population in each subsequent year. These calculations are made for males and females separately in each five-year age band (e.g. using age-specific mortality rates for the overall peak year), and summed to create the UK total.

Last reviewed:

All cancers combined mortality rates are projected to fall by 15% in the UK between 2014 and 2035, to 280 deaths per 100,000 people by 2035.[1] This includes a larger decrease for males than for females.

For males, all cancers combined European age standardised (AS) Open a glossary item mortality rates in the UK are projected to fall by 18% between 2014 and 2035, to 330 per 100,000 by 2035.[1] For females, rates are projected to fall by 15% between 2014 and 2035, to 239 per 100,000 by 2035.[1]

All Cancers (Excluding Non-Melanoma Skin Cancer, and Including Benign and Uncertain or Unknown Behaviour Brain, other Central Nervous System and Intracranial Tumours: ICD-10 C00-C97 excluding C44, plus D32-D33, D35.2-D35.4, D42-D43, and D44.3-D44), Observed and Projected Age-Standardised Mortality Rates, by Sex, UK, 1979-2035

 

It is projected that 212,546 deaths from all cancers combined (116,585 in males, 95,961 in females) will occur in the UK in 2035.

References

  1. Smittenaar CR, Petersen KA, Stewart K, Moitt N. Cancer Incidence and Mortality Projections in the UK Until 2035. Brit J Cancer 2016.

About this data

Data is for: UK, 1979-2014 (observed), 2015-2035 (projected). ICD-10 codes all cancers combined C00-C97 excluding C44, plus D32-D33, D35.2-D35.4, D42-D43, D44.3-D44.5.

Projections are based on observed incidence and mortality rates and therefore implicitly include changes in cancer risk factors, diagnosis and treatment. The definition of 'all cancer types/sites combined' used here differs from that typically used in mortality statistics on this website: benign and uncertain or unknown behaviour brain, other central nervous system and intracranial tumours (D32-D33, D35.2-D35.4, D42-D43, D44.3-D44.5) are included here, and non-melanoma skin cancer (C44) is excluded. It is not possible to assess the statistical significance of changes between 2014 (observed) and 2035 (projected) figures. Confidence intervals are not calculated for the projected figures. Projections are by their nature uncertain because unexpected events in future could change the trend. It is not sensible to calculate a boundary of uncertainty around these already uncertain point estimates. Changes are described as 'increase' or 'decrease' if there is any difference between the point estimates.

More on projections methodology

Last reviewed:

Cancer is the leading cause of death in the UK for males and females aged 1 and older. Cancer accounted for 28% of all deaths in the UK in 2019.[1-3]

Cancer is the leading cause of death for children aged 1-14, and for adults aged 45-74. Cancer is the second-biggest cause of death for teenagers and younger adults aged 15-44 (where more deaths are due to external causes including accidents and suicide), and for elderly people aged 75+ (where more deaths are due to diseases of the circulatory system).[1-3]

The Four Most Common Causes of Deaths by ICD-10 Chapters, Persons Aged 1 and older, UK, 2019

Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding. 

References

  1. Office for National Statistics.  NOMIS mortality statistics - underlying cause, sex and age
  2. General Register Office for Scotland. Vital Events Reference Tables
  3. Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency. Registrar General Annual Report 2019 Cause of Death

About this data

Data is for UK, 2019, at ICD-10 chapter level for ICD-10 A00-R99, V01-Y98, except for ICD-10 C00-D48 (neoplasms) which is split into C00-C97 (malignant neoplasms) and D00-D48 (in situ and benign neoplasms, and neoplasms of uncertain or unknown behaviour).

Last reviewed:

The UK mortality rate for all cancers combined (excluding non-melanoma skin cancer) is ranked lower than two-thirds of Europe (rank 28 of 40).[1]

All Cancers Excluding Non-Melanoma Skin Cancer (C00-C97 Excl. C44), Number of New Cases, World Age-Standardised (AS) Mortality Rates per 100,000 Population, UK compared to Europe, 2018

The four most common causes of cancer death in the UK are different to those in Europe.[1]

References

  1. International Agency for Research on Cancer, GLOBOCAN 2018 accessed via Global Cancer Observatory. Accessed September 2018.

About this data

Data is for: worldwide, 2018.

Some common cancers are defined using slightly different ICD codes in this section than used for the UK data.

See the full details of data and methods.

Last reviewed:

The UK mortality rate for all cancers combined (excluding non-melanoma skin cancer) is ranked higher than two-thirds of the world (rank 63 of 185).[1]

All Cancers Excluding Non-Melanoma Skin Cancer (C00-C97 Excl. C44), Number of New Cases, World Age-Standardised (AS) Mortality Rates per 100,000 Population, UK compared to Worldwide, 2018

The four most common causes of cancer death in the UK are different to those worldwide.[1]

References

  1. International Agency for Research on Cancer, GLOBOCAN 2018 accessed via Global Cancer Observatory. Accessed September 2018.

About this data

Data is for: worldwide, 2018.

Some common cancers are defined using slightly different ICD codes in this section than used for the UK data.

See the full details of data and method.

Last reviewed:

Devolved Nation Key Statistics

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.

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Acknowledgements

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