Young people's cancers statistics

Cases

New cases of young peoples' cancers each year, 2017-2019 average, UK

Deaths

Deaths from cancer in young people, 2017-2019, UK.

Survival

Survive young people's cancers for 5 or more years, 2012-16, UK

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 2,300 new cancer cases in young people in the UK every year, that's more than 6 every day (2017-2019).
  • Cancer in young people accounts for less than 1% of all new cancer cases in the UK (2017-2019).
  • In female young people in the UK, there are around 1,200 new cancer cases every year (2017-2019).
  • In male young people in the UK, there are around 1,100 new cancer cases every year (2017-2019).
  • Among young people in the UK, cancer incidence rates are highest in those aged 20-24 (2017-2019).
  • Since the early 1990s, incidence rates for cancers in young people have have increased by around a quarter (24%) in the UK. Rates in females have increased by more than a third (35%), and rates in males have increased by a seventh (14%) (2016-2018).
  • Over the last decade, incidence rates for cancers in young people have remained stable in the UK. Rates in females have increased by around a seventh (13%), and rates in males have remained stable (2016-2018).
  • Other carcinomas and melanomas, lymphomas, and germ cell tumours together account for around two-thirds of all cancers diagnosed in UK young people (1997-2016).
  • Other carcinomas and melanomas are the most commonly diagnosed types of cancer in young people.

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

  • There are around 250 cancer deaths in young people in the UK every year, that's nearly 5 every week (2017-2019).
  • Cancer in young people accounts for less than 1% of all cancer deaths in the UK (2017-2019).
  • In female young people in the UK, there are around 110 cancer deaths every year (2017-2019).
  • In male young people in the UK, there are around 140 cancer deaths every year (2017-2019).
  • Leukaemia is the most common cause of young people’s cancer death.
  • Since the early 1970s, mortality rates for cancers in young peoples have decreased by around three-fifths (61%) in the UK. Rates in females have decreased by around three-fifths (59%), and rates in males have decreased by almost two-thirds (63%) (2017-2019).
  • Over the last decade, mortality rates for cancers in young people have decreased by around a quarter (24%) in the UK. Rates in females have remained stable, and rates in males have decreased by more than a quarter (28%) (2017-2019).
  • Almost 12,000 cancer deaths in young people have been avoided since the 1970s in the UK.

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

  • More than 7 in 10 (74%) of people diagnosed with cancer at ages 15-24 in the UK survive for twenty years or more (1997-2001)
  • More than 8 in 10 (83%) people diagnosed with cancer at ages 15-24 in the UK survive for ten years or more (2007-2011)
  • Almost 9 in 10 (87%) people diagnosed with cancer at ages 15-24 in the UK survive for five years or more (2012-2016)
  • Survival for young people's cancers has increased since the 1990s in the UK
  • In the 1990s, around three-quarters of young people diagnosed with cancer survived beyond ten 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.
  • Further one-, five- and ten-year survival statistics can be found on the Cancer Statistics Dashboard.

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's cancer risk than adult cancer risk, because this age group has had less time exposed to these factors. Overall, evidence on young people's cancer risk factors is limited, mainly because of the relative rarity and diversity of this group of cancers.
  • Young people's lymphoma risk may relate to certain infections, but evidence is unclear.
  • Young people's 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's germ cell tumour risk may relate to certain congenital disorders (e.g. testicular germ cell tumours), but evidence is unclear.

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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.