Young people's cancers statistics

Cases

New cases of young people's cancers, 2014-2016 average, UK

Deaths

Deaths from young people's cancers, per year in 2014-2016, UK

Survival

Survive young people's cancers for 5 or more years, 2001-2005, England and Wales

Not well understood

Young people's risk factors are not well understood, mainly because this group of cancers are relatively rare and diverse

  • There are around 2,600 new cancer cases in young people in the UK every year, that's around 7 every day (2014-2016).
  • Cancer in young people accounts for less than 1% of all new cancer cases (2014-2016).
  • In female young people in the UK, there are around 1,400 new cancer cases in the UK every year 2014-2016.
  • In male young people in the UK, there are around 1,200 new cancer cases in the UK every year 2014-2016.
  • Among young people in the UK, cancer incidence rates are highest in those aged 20-24 (2000-2009).
  • Since the early 1990s, anal cancer incidence rates have increased by seven-tenths (70%) in the UK. Rates in females have increased by around two times (111%), and rates in males have increased by more than a fifth (22%).
  • Over the last decade, anal cancer incidence rates have increased by two-fifths (40%) in the UK. Rates in males have increased by around a seventh (13%), and rates in females have increased by three-fifths (60%).
  • Lymphomas, carcinomas and germ cell tumours account for almost a third of all cancers diagnosed in young people.
  • Lymphomas are the most common group of cancers in young people.

See more in-depth young people's cancers incidence statistics

  • There are around 290 cancer deaths in young people in the UK every year, that's around 1 every day (2014-2016).
  • Cancer in young people accounts for less than 1% of all cancer deaths in the UK (2014-2016).
  • In male young people in the UK, there are around 170 cancer deaths in the UK every year (2014-2016).
  • In female young people in the UK, there are around 120 cancer deaths in the UK every year (2014-2016).
  • Brain, other CNS and intracranial tumours are the most common cause of young people's cancer death.
  • Since the early 1970s, mortality rates for cancers in young people have decreased by almost three-fifths (56%) in the UK. Rates in males have decreased by almost three-fifths (58%), and rates in females have decreased by more than half (53%).
  • Over the last decade, mortality rates for cancers in young people have decreased by a fifth (20%) in the UK. Rates in males have decreased by more than a fifth (22%), and rates in females have remained stable.

See more in-depth young people's cancers mortality statistics

  • More than 8 in 10 (82-85%) young people diagnosed with cancer in the UK survive their disease for five years or more (2001-05).
  • Young people's cancers survival is higher in females than males.
  • Survival for young people's cancers is improving and has increased in the last 10 years in the UK
  • In the 1990s, around three-quarters of young people diagnosed with cancer survived their disease beyond five years, now it's more than 8 in 10.
  • Throughout Europe, young people cancer survival is highest in Northern Europe, lowest in the Eastern region and survival for England is below the average for Europe.

See more in-depth young people's cancers survival statistics

  • A person’s risk of developing cancer depends on many factors, including age, genetics, and exposure to risk factors (including some potentially avoidable lifestyle factors).
  • Lifestyle risk factors probably have less impact on young people cancer risk than adult cancer risk, because this age group has had less time exposed to these factors. Overall, evidence on young people cancer risk factors is limited, mainly because of the relative rarity and diversity of this group of cancers.
  • Young people lymphoma risk may relate to certain infections, but evidence is unclear.
  • Young people carcinoma risk may relate to certain infections (e.g. cervix carcinoma) and genetic conditions (e.g. bowel and thyroid carcinoma), but evidence is unclear.
  • Young people germ cell tumour risk may relate to certain congenital disorders (e.g. testicular germ cell tumours), but evidence is unclear.
  • Emergency presentation and GP referral (not ‘two-week wait’) are the most common routes to diagnosis of cancer in young people.
  • Most cancers in young people are treated with surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

See more in-depth young people's cancers diagnosis and treatment 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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