Young people's cancers 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 young peoples' cancers, 2015-2017, UK

Deaths

Deaths from cancer in young people, 2015-2017, 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 2,500 new young people's cancer cases in the UK every year, that's around 7 every day (2015-2017).
  • Cancer in young people accounts for less than 1% of all new cancer cases in the UK (2015-2017).
  • In female young people in the UK, there are around 1,300 new cancer cases every year (2015-2017).
  • In male young people in the UK, there are around 1,200 new cancer cases every year (2015-2017).
  • Among young people in the UK, cancer incidence rates are highest in those aged 20-24 (2000-2009).
  • Since the early 1990s, incidence rates for cancers in young people have increased by more than a quarter (28%) in the UK. Rates in females have increased by two-fifths (40%), and rates in males have increased by a sixth (17%) (2015-2017).
  • Over the last decade, incidence rates for cancers in young people have increased by a tenth (10%) in the UK. Rates in females have increased by around a fifth (19%), and rates in males remained stable (2015-2017).
  • 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 270 cancer deaths in young people in the UK every year, that's nearly 1 every day (2015-2017).
  • Cancer in young people accounts for less than 1% of all cancer deaths in the UK (2015-2017).
  • In female young people in the UK, there are around 110 cancer deaths in the UK every year (2015-2017).
  • In male young people in the UK, there are around 160 cancer deaths in the UK every year (2015-2017).
  • Leukaemia is the most common cause of young people’s cancer death.
  • Since the early 1970s, mortality rates for cancers in young people have decreased by around three-fifths (59%) in the UK. Rates in females have decreased by almost three-fifths (56%), and rates in males have decreased by three-fifths (60%).
  • Over the last decade, mortality rates for cancers in young people have decreased by more than a fifth (22%) in the UK. Rates in females have decreased by more than a fifth (22%), and rates in males have decreased by almost a quarter (23%).

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

Want the key stats in the sections on this page as a document? or looking for a stats report of the in-depth stats? Use the print function at the bottom of any Cancer Stats page Share this page > Print or your browser options to print or save.

Last reviewed:

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.