Cancer of unknown primary statistics

Cases

New cases of cancer of unknown primary, 2014-2016 average, UK

Deaths

Deaths from cancer of unknown primary, 2016, UK

  • There are around 8,800 new cancer of unknown primary cases in the UK every year, that's 24 every day (2014-2016).
  • Cancer of unknown primary is the 15th most common cancer in the UK, accounting for 2% of all new cancer cases (2016).
  • In females in the UK, cancer of unknown primary is the 11th most common cancer, with around 4,600 new cases in 2016.
  • In males in the UK, cancer of unknown primary is the 14th most common cancer, with around 4,300 new cases in 2016.
  • Incidence rates for cancer of unknown primary in the UK are highest in people aged 90+ (2014-2016).
  • Since the early 1990s, cancer of unknown primary incidence rates have decreased by more than half (54%) in the UK. Rates in females have decreased by more than half (52%) and rates in males have decreased by almost three-fifths (57%).
  • Over the last decade, cancer of unknown primary incidence rates have decreased by more than a third (36%) in the UK. Rates in females have decreased by more than a third (36%), and rates in males have decreased by more than a third (36%).
  • Most cancers of unknown primary occur in the respiratory and digestive organs.
  • Cancer of unknown primary in England is more common in people living in the most deprived areas.
  • 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 9,800 cancer of unknown primary deaths in the UK every year, that's 27 every day (2014-2016).
  • Cancer of unknown primary is the 5th most common cause of cancer death in the UK, accounting for 6% of all cancer deaths (2016).
  • In males in the UK, cancer of unknown primary is the 6th most common cause of cancer death, with around 4,400 deaths in 2016.
  • In females in the UK, cancer of unknown primary is the 4th most common cause of cancer death, with around 5,000 deaths in 2016.
  • Mortality rates for cancer of unknown primary in the UK are highest in people aged 90+ (2014-2016).
  • Since the early 1970s, cancer of unknown primary mortality rates have increased by almost nine-tenths (88%) in the UK. Rates in males have increased by more than three-quarters (77%), and rates in females have increased by almost two times (97%).
  • Over the last decade, cancer of unknown primary mortality rates have decreased by more than a third (35%) in the UK. Rates in males have decreased by almost two-fifths (37%), and rates in females have decreased by a third (33%).
  • 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.