Lifetime risk of cancer

Lifetime risk

1 in 2 UK people will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime

The estimated lifetime risk of being diagnosed with cancer is 1 in 2 (50%) for males, and 1 in 2 (45%) for females born after 1960 in the UK.[1] This is in line with previous estimates.[2]

These figures take account of the possibility that someone can have more than one diagnosis of cancer in their lifetime (‘Adjusted for Multiple Primaries’ (AMP) method).[3

All Cancers Combined (ICD-10 C00-C97 excluding C44, plus D32-D33, D35.2-D35.4, D42-D43, D44.3-D44.5), Estimated Lifetime Risk of Being Diagnosed, Men and Women Born After 1960, UK

References

  1. Lifetime risk estimates calculated by the Statistical Information Team at Cancer Research UK. Based on Office for National Statistics (ONS) 2016-based Life expectancies and population projections. Accessed December 2017, and Smittenaar CR, Petersen KA, Stewart K, Moitt N. Cancer Incidence and Mortality Projections in the UK Until 2035. Brit J Cancer 2016.
  2. 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): p. 460-5.

About this data

Data is for UK, past and projected cancer incidence and mortality and all-cause mortality rates for those born in 1961, ICD-10 C00-C97 excluding C44, plus D32-D33, D35.2-D35.4, D42-D43, D44.3-D44.5.

The calculations used past and projected cancer incidence and mortality and all-cause mortality rates for those born in 1961 to project risk over the lifetime of those born in 1961 (cohort method).[1] Projections are based on observed incidence and mortality rates and therefore implicitly include changes in cancer risk factors, diagnosis and treatment.

Last reviewed:

Estimates of the lifetime risk of being diagnosed with cancer for people born after 1960 in the UK vary by cancer type and sex.

The cancer types with the highest lifetime risk estimates are those with the highest past, current and projected future incidence: breast, lung and bowel cancers for females and prostate, lung and bowel cancers for males.[1]

The 20 Most Common Cancers in 2015, Estimated Lifetime Risk of Being Diagnosed, People Born After 1960, UK

All the above are calculated using the cohort approach, except for Cancer of Unknown Primary which is calculated using the combined period-cohort approach. Cancer of unknown primary, leukaemia, myeloma, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and liver, oesophageal, pancreatic, prostate and uterine cancers are calculated using the Current Probability method.[2] All other sites included here were calculated using the ‘Adjusting for Multiple Primaries’ (AMP) method.[3]

References

  1. Lifetime risk estimates calculated by the Statistical Information Team at Cancer Research UK. Based on cancer incidence and mortality data provided by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), ISD Scotland, the Welsh Cancer Intelligence and Surveillance Unit and the Northern Ireland Cancer Registry, on request, October 2016 to October 2017, and ONS 2016-based Life expectancies and population projections. Accessed December 2017.
  2. Esteve J, Benhamou E and Raymond L.Descriptive epidemiology. IARC Scientific Publications No.128, Lyon, International Agency for Research on Cancer, pp 67-68 1994. 
  3. 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): p. 460-5. 

About this data

Data is for UK, past and projected cancer incidence and mortality and all-cause mortality rates for those born in 1961, ICD-10 C00-C97 excluding C44, plus D32-D33, D35.2-D35.4, D42-D43, D44.3-D44.5.

The calculations used past and projected cancer incidence and mortality and all-cause mortality rates for those born in 1961 to project risk over the lifetime of those born in 1961 (the cohort method); or cancer incidence and mortality data for 2015 and all-cause mortality rates for those born in 1961 (combined period-cohort method).[1] Projections are based on observed incidence and mortality rates and therefore implicitly include changes in cancer risk factors, diagnosis and treatment.

Last reviewed:

Estimates of the risk of being diagnosed with cancer in working age (before age 65) are much lower than estimates of the lifetime risk. This is because cancer is primarily a disease of older age.[1]

The Four Most Common Cancers in 2015, Estimated Risk of Being Diagnosed Before Age 65, People Born After 1960, UK

All sites calculated using the cohort approach and the AMP method.[2]

References

  1. Lifetime risk estimates calculated by the Statistical Information Team at Cancer Research UK. Based on cancer incidence and mortality data provided by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), ISD Scotland, the Welsh Cancer Intelligence and Surveillance Unit and the Northern Ireland Cancer Registry, on request, October 2016 to October 2017, and ONS 2016-based Life expectancies and population projections. Accessed December 2017. 
  2. 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): p. 460-5.

About this data

Data is for UK, past and projected cancer incidence and mortality and all-cause mortality rates for those born in 1961, ICD-10 C00-C97 excluding C44, plus D32-D33, D35.2-D35.4, D42-D43, D44.3-D44.5.

The calculations used past and projected cancer incidence and mortality and all-cause mortality rates for those born in 1961 to project risk over the lifetime of those born in 1961 (the cohort method).[1] Projections are based on observed incidence and mortality rates and therefore implicitly include changes in cancer risk factors, diagnosis and treatment.

Last reviewed:

Local Cancer Statistics

Local level cancer statistics; searchable by a local area or constituency in England.

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

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.

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