Leukaemia (all subtypes combined) incidence statistics

Cases

New cases of leukaemia each year, 2016-2018 average, UK.

 

Proportion of all cases

Percentage leukaemia is of total cancer cases, 2016-2018, UK

 

Age

Peak rate of leukaemia cases, 2016-2018, UK

 

Trend over time

Change in leukaemia incidence rates since the early 1990s, UK

Leukaemia is the 12th most common cancer in the UK, accounting for 3% of all new cancer cases (2017-2019).[1-4]

In females in the UK, leukaemia is the 12th most common cancer (2% of all new female cancer cases). In males in the UK, it is the 10th most common cancer (3% of all new male cancer cases).

40% of leukaemia cases in the UK are in females, and 60% are in males.

Leukaemia incidence rates (European age-standardised (AS) rate Open a glossary item) for persons are significantly higher than the UK average in England and significantly lower than the UK average in Scotland and Wales. Rates in Northern Ireland are similar to the UK average.

For leukaemia, there are few established risk factors therefore differences between countries largely reflect differences in diagnosis and data recording.

Data for 2013 onwards have been recoded to a newer edition of the International Classification of Diseases version 10 (ICD-10). Age-standardised incidence rates are around 1 case per 100,000 population higher using this new ICD-10 edition compared with the previous one. Trends spanning this period, and comparisons with previously-reported figures, should be interpreted with the coding change in mind.

Leukaemia (C91-C95), Average Number of New Cases Per Year, Crude and European Age-Standardised (AS) Incidence Rates per 100,000 Population, UK, 2017-2019

  England Scotland Wales Northern Ireland UK
Female Cases 3,572 304 168 115 4,160
Crude Rate 12.6 10.9 10.6 12.0 12.4
AS Rate 12.5 10.5 9.7 12.8 12.2
AS Rate - 95% LCL 12.2 9.9 8.8 11.4 11.9
AS Rate - 95% UCL 12.7 11.2 10.5 14.1 12.4
Male Cases 5,273 436 272 161 6,143
Crude Rate 19.1 16.5 17.6 17.4 18.7
AS Rate 21.4 17.9 18.0 20.6 20.9
AS Rate - 95% LCL 21.1 17.0 16.8 18.8 20.6
AS Rate - 95% UCL 21.8 18.9 19.3 22.5 21.2
Persons Cases 8,845 740 440 276 10,302
Crude Rate 15.8 13.6 14.0 14.7 15.5
AS Rate 16.6 13.8 13.5 16.4 16.2
AS Rate - 95% LCL 16.4 13.3 12.8 15.3 16.0
AS Rate - 95% UCL 16.8 14.4 14.2 17.5 16.4

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

References

  1. England data were provided by the National Cancer Registration and Analysis Service (NCRAS), part of the National Disease Registration Service (NDRS) in NHS England, on request through the Office for Data Release, January 2023. Similar data can be found here: https://www.cancerdata.nhs.uk/ 

  2.  Northern Ireland data were provided by the Northern Ireland Cancer Registry (NICR) on request, October 2021. Similar data can be found here:http://www.qub.ac.uk/research-centres/nicr/

  3. Welsh data were published by the Welsh Cancer Intelligence and Surveillance Unit (WCISU), Health Intelligence Division, Public Health Wales https://phw.nhs.wales/services-and-teams/welsh-cancer-intelligence-and-surveillance-unit-wcisu/cancer-reporting-tool-official-statistics/ June 2022. 

  4. Scotland data were provided by the Scottish Cancer Registry, Public Health Scotland (PHS) on request, May 2021. Similar data can be found here: https://publichealthscotland.scot/publications/show-all-releases?id=20468

About this data

Data is for UK, 2017-2019, ICD-10 C91-C95.

The term leukaemia describes four main subtypes, acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL), chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL), acute myeloid leukaemia (CML) and chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML), as well as a number of less common types. It is important to recognise the variation between these subtypes when interpreting statistics on leukaemia as a whole.

Last reviewed:

Leukaemia incidence is strongly related to age, with the highest incidence rates being in older people. In the UK in 2016-2018, on average each year almost 4 in 10 new cases (38%) were in people aged 75 and over.[1-4]

Age-specific incidence rates fall gradually from age 0-4 and remain stable throughout childhood and early adulthood, rates rise sharply from around age 55-59. The highest rates are in in the 85 to 89 age group for females and males.

Incidence rates are significantly lower in females than males in most age groups. The gap is widest at age 75 to 79, when the age-specific incidence rate is 1.9 times lower in females than males.

Leukaemia (C91-C95), Average Number of New Cases per Year and Age-Specific Incidence Rates per 100,000 Population, UK, 2016-2018

For leukaemia, like most cancer types, incidence increases with age. This largely reflects cell DNA damage accumulating over time. Damage can result from biological processes or from exposure to risk factors. A drop or plateau in incidence in the oldest age groups often indicates reduced diagnostic activity perhaps due to general ill health.

References

  1. Data were provided by the National Cancer Registration and Analysis Service (part of Public Health England), on request through the Office for Data Release, July 2021. Similar data can be found here: https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/healthandsocialcare/conditionsanddiseases/bulletins/cancerregistrationstatisticsengland/previousReleases
  2. Data were provided by ISD Scotland on request, April 2020. Similar data can be found here: http://www.isdscotland.org/Health-Topics/Cancer/Publications.
  3. Data were published by the Welsh Cancer Intelligence and Surveillance Unit, Health Intelligence Division, Public Health Wales https://phw.nhs.wales/services-and-teams/welsh-cancer-intelligence-and-surveillance-unit-wcisu/cancer-incidence-in-wales-2002-2018/, March 2021.
  4. Data were provided by the Northern Ireland Cancer Registry on request, May 2020. Similar data can be found here: http://www.qub.ac.uk/research-centres/nicr/.

About this data

Data is for UK, 2016-2018, ICD-10 C91-C95.

The term leukaemia describes four main subtypes, acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL), chronic lymphoblastic leukaemia (CLL), acute myeloid leukaemia (CML) and chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML), as well as a number of less common types. It is important to recognise the variation between these subtypes when interpreting statistics on leukaemia as a whole.

Last reviewed:

Leukaemia European age-standardised (AS) Open a glossary item incidence rates for females and males combined increased by 13% in the UK between 1993-1995 and 2016-2018.[1-4] The increase was of a similar size in females and males.

For females, leukaemia AS incidence rates in the UK increased by 10% between 1993-1995 and 2016-2018. For males, leukaemia AS incidence rates in the UK increased by 9% between 1993-1995 and 2016-2018.

Over the last decade in the UK (between 2006-2008 and 2016-2018), leukaemia AS incidence rates for females and males combined increased by 3%. In females AS incidence rates remained stable, and in males rates remained stable.

Leukaemia (C91-C95), European Age-Standardised Incidence Rates, UK, 1993 to 2018

Leukaemia incidence rates have increased overall in some broad age groups in females and males combined in the UK since the early 1990s, but have remained stable in others.[1-4] Rates in 0-24s have remained stable, in 25-49s have increased by 16%, in 50-59s have increased by 14%, in 60-69s have increased by 16%, in 70-79s have increased by 17% and in 80+s have remained stable.

Leukaemia (C91-C95), European Age-Standardised Incidence Rates per 100,000 Persons Population, By Age, UK, 1993-2018

For leukaemia there are few established risk factors, therefore increasing incidence in the 1980s and 1990s may largely reflect improvements in diagnosis and data recording.

References

  1. Data were provided by the National Cancer Registration and Analysis Service (part of Public Health England), on request through the Office for Data Release, July 2021. Similar data can be found here: https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/healthandsocialcare/conditionsanddiseases/bulletins/cancerregistrationstatisticsengland/previousReleases
  2. Data were provided by ISD Scotland on request, April 2020. Similar data can be found here: http://www.isdscotland.org/Health-Topics/Cancer/Publications.
  3. Data were published by the Welsh Cancer Intelligence and Surveillance Unit, Health Intelligence Division, Public Health Wales https://phw.nhs.wales/services-and-teams/welsh-cancer-intelligence-and-surveillance-unit-wcisu/cancer-incidence-in-wales-2002-2018/, March 2021.
  4. Data were provided by the Northern Ireland Cancer Registry on request, May 2020. Similar data can be found here: http://www.qub.ac.uk/research-centres/nicr/.

About this data

Data is for UK, 1993-2018, ICD-10 C91-C95.

The term leukaemia describes four main subtypes, acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL), chronic lymphoblastic leukaemia (CLL), acute myeloid leukaemia (CML) and chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML), as well as a number of less common types. It is important to recognise the variation between these subtypes when interpreting statistics on leukaemia as a whole.

Last reviewed:

The number of new leukaemia cases on average each year in the UK is projected to rise from around 12,400 cases in 2023-2025 to around 14,500 cases in 2038-2040.[1]

Leukaemia incidence rates are projected to fall by 3% in the UK between 2023-2025 and 2038-2040, to 17 cases per 100,000 people on average each year by 2038-2040.[1] This includes a similar decrease for males and females.

For females, leukaemia European age-standardised (AS) Open a glossary item incidence rates in the UK are projected to fall by 4% between 2023-2025 and 2038-2040, to 13 cases per 100,000 per year by 2038-2040.[1] For males, AS rates are projected to fall by 3% between 2023-2025 and 2038-2040, to 23 cases per 100,000 per year by 2038-2040.[1]

Leukaemia (C91-C95), Observed and Projected Age-Standardised Incidence Rates, by Sex, UK, 1993-2040

Download the data table (xlsx)

References

Calculated by the Cancer Intelligence Team at Cancer Research UK, February 2023. Age-period-cohort modelling approach described here, using 2020-based population projections (Office for National Statistics) and observed cancer incidence (1975-2018 for England, Scotland and Wales, 1993-2018 for Northern Ireland).

About this data

Projections are based on incidence data from 1975-2018 (England, Scotland and Wales) and 1993-2018 (Northern Ireland); the above figure presents all UK data from 1993-2018 (observed) and 2019-2040 (projected). Number of new cases and age-standardised rates are presented as annual averages for each 3-year rolling period. ICD-10 codes C91-C95.

Projections are based on observed incidence rates and therefore implicitly include changes in cancer risk factors and diagnosis. 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:

Leukaemia incidence rates (European age-standardised (AS) rates Open a glossary item) in England in females are similar in the most deprived quintile compared with the least, and in males are similar in the most deprived quintile compared with the least (2013-2017).[1]

References

  1. Calculated by the Cancer Intelligence Team at Cancer Research UK, April 2020. Based on method reported in National Cancer Intelligence Network Cancer by Deprivation in England Incidence, 1996-2010 Mortality, 1997-2011 . Using cancer incidence data 2013-2017 (Public Health England) and population data 2013-2017 (Office for National Statistics) by Indices of Multiple Deprivation 2015 income domain quintile, cancer type, sex, and five-year age band.

About this data

Data is for England, 2013-2017, ICD-10 C91-C95.

Last reviewed:

In the UK around 27,100 people were still alive at the end of 2006, up to ten years after being diagnosed with leukaemia (all subtypes combined).[1]

Leukaemia (C91-C95), One, Five and Ten Year Cancer Prevalence, UK, 31st December 2006

1 Year Prevalence 5 Year Prevalence 10 Year Prevalence
Male 2,668 10,053 15,738
Female 1,847 7,058 11,430
Persons 4,515 17,111 27,168

Worldwide, it is estimated that there were around 500,000 men and women still alive in 2008, up to five years after their diagnosis.[2]

References

  1. NCIN. One, Five and Ten Year Cancer Prevalence by Cancer Network, UK, 2006. London: NCIN; 2010
  2. Ferlay J, Shin HR, Bray F, et al. GLOBOCAN 2008 v1.2, Cancer incidence and mortality worldwide: IARC CancerBase No. 10 [Internet]. Lyon, France: International Agency for Research on Cancer; 2010. Available from http://globocan.iarc.fr. Accessed May 2011.

About this data

Data is for: All UK patients who had been diagnosed with leukaemia between 1997 and 2006, ICD-10 C91-95.

Last reviewed:

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