One in two people born after 1960 in the UK will be diagnosed with some form of cancer during their lifetime.
Lifetime risk of cancer
1 in 2 UK people will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime
Estimates of the lifetime risk of being diagnosed with cancer varies by cancer type, sex and age.
For females the cancer type with the highest lifetime risk is breast cancer followed by lung and bowel cancer. For males the cancer type with the highest lifetime risk is prostate cancer, again followed by lung cancer and bowel cancer.
Cancer is primarily a disease of older people, as the difference between the estimates for the percentage of people who are diagnosed with cancer by age 65 and over a lifetime show. For instance, for men there is a less than 2% risk of being diagnosed with lung cancer by age 65 but this increases to almost 8% over a lifetime.
The 15 Most Common Male and Female Cancers, Risk of Being Diagnosed with Cancer by Age 65 and Over a Lifetime, UK, 2012
|Up to Age 64 (%)||Lifetime Risk (%)||Lifetime Risk (1 in X)||Up to Age 64 (%)||Lifetime Risk (%)||Lifetime Risk (1 in X)|
|Brain, Other CNS and Intracranial Tumours (C70-C72, C75.1-C75.3, D32-D33, D35.2-D35.4, D42-D43, D44.3-D44.5)||0.61||1.35||74||0.60||1.37||73|
|Malignant Melanoma (C43)||0.71||1.94||52||0.90||1.85||54|
|Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma (C82-C85)||0.66||2.12||48||0.47||1.73||58|
|Oral (C00-C06,C09-C10, C12-C14)||0.67||1.34||75||0.27||0.68||147|
- Sasieni PD, Shelton J, Ormiston-Smith N, et al. What is the lifetime risk of developing cancer?: The effect of adjusting for multiple primaries. Br J Cancer 2011;105(3):460-5.
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
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.