Thyroid cancer incidence statistics

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

We have created a central resources hub for Health Professionals which hosts all of our CRUK resources and further materials to help with managing the pandemic. We are updating the information as guidance changes. There is also a page specifically for patients on our about cancer hub.

Health Professional COVID-19 and Cancer Hub

Cases

New cases of thyroid cancer, 2015-2017, UK

 

Proportion of all cases

Percentage thyroid cancer is of total cancer cases, 2015-2017, UK

 

Age

Peak rate of thyroid cancer cases, 2015-2017, UK

Trend over time

Change in thyroid cancer incidence rates since the early 1990s, UK

 

Thyroid cancer is the 20th most common cancer in the UK, accounting for 1% of all new cancer cases (2017).[1-4]

In females in the UK, thyroid cancer is the 17th most common cancer (2% of all new female cancer cases). In males in the UK, it is the 20th most common cancer (less than 1% of all new male cancer cases).

72% of thyroid cancer cases in the UK are in females, and 28% are in males

Thyroid cancer incidence rates (European age-standardised (AS) rates Open a glossary item) for persons are significantly lower than the UK average in Wales, and similar to the UK average in all other UK constituent countries.

Thyroid Cancer (C73), Number of New Cases, Crude and European Age-Standardised (AS) Incidence Rates per 100,000 Population, UK, 2017

  England Scotland Wales Northern Ireland UK
Female Cases 2,342 208 107 99 2,756
Crude Rate 8.3 7.5 6.8 10.4 8.2
AS Rate 8.5 7.4 6.8 10.9 8.4
AS Rate - 95% LCL 8.2 6.4 5.5 8.7 8.1
AS Rate - 95% UCL 8.9 8.4 8.0 13.0 8.7
Male Cases 912 80 38 38 1,068
Crude Rate 3.3 3.0 2.5 4.1 3.3
AS Rate 3.6 3.1 2.7 4.6 3.5
AS Rate - 95% LCL 3.3 2.4 1.8 3.1 3.3
AS Rate - 95% UCL 3.8 3.8 3.5 6.1 3.7
Persons Cases 3,254 288 145 137 3,824
Crude Rate 5.9 5.3 4.6 7.3 5.8
AS Rate 6.1 5.3 4.7 7.8 6.0
AS Rate - 95% LCL 5.9 4.7 4.0 6.5 5.8
AS Rate - 95% UCL 6.3 6.0 5.5 9.1 6.2

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

For thyroid cancer, there are few established risk factors therefore differences between countries largely reflect differences 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, November 2019. 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 2019. Similar data can be found here: http://www.isdscotland.org/Health-Topics/Cancer/Publications.
  3. Data were provided by the Welsh Cancer Intelligence and Surveillance Unit, Health Intelligence Division, Public Health Wales on request, December 2019. Similar data can be found here: http://www.wcisu.wales.nhs.uk.
  4. Data were provided by the Northern Ireland Cancer Registry on request, May 2019. Similar data can be found here: http://www.qub.ac.uk/research-centres/nicr/.

About this data

Data is for UK, 2017, ICD-10 C73.

Last reviewed:

Thyroid cancer incidence is strongly related to age, with the highest incidence rates being in the 65 to 69 age group. In the UK in 2015-2017, on average each year around a tenth of new cases (11%) were in people aged 75 and over.[1-4] Thyroid cancer incidence rates in females are highest overall in younger and middle-aged women – a different pattern to male thyroid cancer, and to most cancers.

Age-specific incidence rates  in females rise sharply from around age 10-14, reaching a peak at ages 45-49, then decline steadily, then drop sharply from age 80-84. Rates in males rise gradually from around age 10-14, before dropping in the oldest age groups.The highest rates are in in the 45 to 49 age group for females and the 80 to 84 age group for males.

Incidence rates are significantly higher in females than males in a number of (mainly older) age groups.The gap is widest at age 20 to 24, when the age-specific incidence rate is 4.9 times higher in females than males.

Thyroid cancer (C73), Average Number of New Cases per Year and Age-Specific Incidence Rates per 100,000 Population, UK, 2015-2017

For thyroid cancer, 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, November 2019. 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 2019. Similar data can be found here: http://www.isdscotland.org/Health-Topics/Cancer/Publications.
  3. Data were provided by the Welsh Cancer Intelligence and Surveillance Unit, Health Intelligence Division, Public Health Wales on request, December 2019. Similar data can be found here: http://www.wcisu.wales.nhs.uk.
  4. Data were provided by the Northern Ireland Cancer Registry on request, May 2019. Similar data can be found here: http://www.qub.ac.uk/research-centres/nicr/.

About this data

Data is for UK, 2015-2017, C73.

Last reviewed:

Thyroid cancer European age-standardised (AS) incidence rates for females and males combined increased by 164% in the UK between 1993-1995 and 2015-2017.[1-4] The increase was of a similar size in females and males.

For females, thyroid cancer AS incidence rates in the UK increased by 173% between 1993-1995 and 2015-2017. For males, thyroid cancer AS incidence rates in the UK increased by 160% between 1993-1995 and 2015-2017.

Over the last decade in the UK (between 2005-2007 and 2015-2017), thyroid cancer AS incidence rates for females and males combined increased by 68%.[1-4] In females AS incidence rates increased by 69%, and in males rates increased by 68%.

Thyroid Cancer (ICD-10 C73), European Age-Standardised Incidence Rates, UK, 1993-2017

Thyroid cancer incidence rates have increased overall in all broad age groups in females in the UK since the early 1990s.[1-4] Rates in 0-24s have increased by 130%, in 25-49s have increased by 226%, in 50-59s have increased by 244%, in 60-69s have increased by 181%, in 70-79s have increased by 86%, and in 80+s have increased by 34%.

Thyroid Cancer (ICD-10 C73), European Age-Standardised Incidence Rates, By Age, Females, UK, 1993-2017

Thyroid cancer incidence rates have increased overall in all broad age groups in males in the UK since the early 1990s.[1-4] Rates in 0-24s have increased by 194%, in 25-49s have increased by 222%, in 50-59s have increased by 204%, in 60-69s have increased by 134%, in 70-79s have increased by 112%, and in 80+s have increased by 99%.

Thyroid Cancer (ICD-10 C73), European Age-Standardised Incidence Rates, By Age, Males, UK, 1993-2017

Thyroid cancer incidence trends probably reflect incidental detection of asymptomatic disease through increasing use of medical imaging techniques. Changing prevalence of risk factors, with recent incidence trends influenced by risk factor prevalence in years past, probably also plays some part.

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, November 2019. 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 2019. Similar data can be found here: http://www.isdscotland.org/Health-Topics/Cancer/Publications.
  3. Data were provided by the Welsh Cancer Intelligence and Surveillance Unit, Health Intelligence Division, Public Health Wales on request, December 2019. Similar data can be found here: http://www.wcisu.wales.nhs.uk.
  4. Data were provided by the Northern Ireland Cancer Registry on request, May 2019. Similar data can be found here: http://www.qub.ac.uk/research-centres/nicr/.

About this data

Data is for UK, 1993-2017, ICD-10 C73.

Last reviewed:

Thyroid cancer incidence rates are projected to rise by 74% in the UK between 2014 and 2035, to 11 cases per 100,000 people by 2035.[1] This includes a larger increase for males than for females.

For males, thyroid cancer European age-standardised (AS) Open a glossary item incidence rates in the UK are projected to rise by 77% between 2014 and 2035, to 7 cases per 100,000 by 2035.[1] For females, rates are projected to rise by 74% between 2014 and 2035, to 16 cases per 100,000 by 2035.[1]

Thyroid cancer (C73), Observed and Projected Age-Standardised Incidence Rates, by Sex, UK, 1979-2035

It is projected that 6,839 cases of thyroid cancer (2,089 in males, 4,750 in females) will be diagnosed in the UK in 2035.

References

  1. Smittenaar CR, Petersen KA, Stewart K, Moitt N. Cancer Incidence and Mortality Projections in the UK Until 2035. Brit J Cancer 2016.

About this data

Data is for: UK, 1979-2014 (observed), 2015-2035 (projected), ICD-10 C73

Projections are based on observed incidence and mortality rates and therefore implicitly include changes in cancer risk factors, diagnosis and treatment. It is not possible to assess the statistical significance of changes between 2014 (observed) and 2035 (projected) figures. 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:

Thyroid cancer 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 C73.

Last reviewed:

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.

Citation

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, 2 Redman Place, London, E20 1JQ or

Donate online

We’re now on twitter.
Join the conversation and follow @CRUKHCPs for news, updates and opinion.

@CRUKHCPs

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.