Cancer of unknown primary statistics

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Cases

New cases of cancer of unknown primary, 2015-2017, UK.

Deaths

Deaths from cancer of unknown primary, 2015-2017, UK.

  • There are around 8,700 new cancer of unknown primary cases in the UK every year, that's 24 every day (2015-2017).
  • Cancer of unknown primary is the 15th most common cancer in the UK, accounting for 2% of all new cancer cases (2017).
  • In females in the UK, cancer of unknown primary is the 11th most common cancer, with around 4,300 new cases in 2017.
  • In males in the UK, cancer of unknown primary is the 14th most common cancer, with around 4,000 new cases in 2017.
  • Incidence rates for cancer of unknown primary in the UK are highest in people aged 90+ (2015-2017).
  • Each year almost 6 in 10 (56%) of all new cancer of unknown primary cases in the UK are diagnosed in people aged 75 and over (2015-2017).
  • Since the early 1990s, cancer of unknown primary incidence rates have decreased by almost three-fifths (55%) in the UK. Rates in females have decreased by more than half (53%) and rates in males have decreased by around three-fifths (59%) (2015-2017).
  • Over the last decade, cancer of unknown primary incidence rates have decreased by more than a third (35%) in the UK. Rates in females have decreased by more than a third (35%), and rates in males have decreased by more than a third (35%) (2015-2017).
  • Most cancers of unknown primary occur in the respiratory and digestive organs.
  • Cancer of unknown primary incidence rates in England in females are 58% higher in the most deprived quintile compared with the least, and in males are 65% higher in the most deprived quintile compared with the least (2013-2017).
  • Around 1,400 cases of cancer of unknown primary each year in England are linked with deprivation (around 620 in females and around 780 in males).
  • An estimated 12,500 people who had previously been diagnosed with cancer of unknown primary (CUP) were alive in the UK at the end of 2010.

See more in-depth cancer of unknown primary incidence statistics

  • There are around 9,500 cancer of unknown primary deaths in the UK every year, that's 26 every day (2015-2017).
  • Cancer of unknown primary is the 6th most common cause of cancer death in the UK, accounting for 5% of all cancer deaths (2017).
  • In females in the UK, cancer of unknown primary is the 4th most common cause of cancer death, with around 4,900 deaths in 2017.
  • In males in the UK, cancer of unknown primary is the 6th most common cause of cancer death, with around 4,300 deaths in 2017.
  • Mortality rates for cancer of unknown primary in the UK are highest in people aged 90+ (2015-2017).
  • Since the early 1970s, cancer of unknown primary mortality rates have increased by around four-fifths (79%) in the UK. Rates in females have increased by nine-tenths (90%), and rates in males have increased by two-thirds (66%).
  • Over the last decade, cancer of unknown primary mortality rates have decreased by more than a third (35%) in the UK. Rates in females have decreased by a third (33%), and rates in rates in males have decreased by almost two-fifths (37%).
  • Cancer of unknown primary deaths in England are more common in females living in the most deprived areas.

See more in-depth cancer of unknown primary mortality 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.