Young people's cancers statistics

Cases

New cases of young people's cancers, per year in 2013-2015, 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 more than 7 every day (2013-2015).
  • Cancer in young people accounts for less than 1% of all new cancer cases in the UK (2013-2015).
  • In male young people in the UK, there are around 1,300 new cancer cases in the UK every year (2013-2015).
  • In female young people in the UK, there are around 1,400 new cancer cases in the UK every year (2013-2015).
  • Among young people in the UK, cancer incidence rates are highest in those aged 20-24 (2000-2009).
  • Since the early 1990s, cancer incidence rates in young people have increased by more than a quarter (28%) in the UK. The increase is larger in females where rates have increased by almost two-fifths (38%), than in males where rates have increased by around a fifth(19%).
  • Over the last decade, cancer incidence rates in young people have increased by around a tenth (11%) in the UK, though this includes an increase in females (20%) and stable rates in males.
  • 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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The latest statistics available for young people's cancers are; incidence of all cancers combined 2013-2015, incidence by cancer type 2000-2009, mortality of all cancers combined 2014-2016, and survival 2001-2005. Survival by age data for the UK is not currently available for young people's cancers.

Statistics for specific diagnostic groups and subtypes in the UK are also available for 2000-2009.

The ICD code Open a glossary item for all young people's cancers incidence are ICD-10 C00-C97 excluding C44 (all invasive cancers excluding non-melanoma skin cancers), and ICD-10 D32-D33, D35.2-D35.4, D42-D43 and D44.3-D44.5 (all benign, uncertain brain, other central nervous system [CNS] and intracranial tumours).

The ICD code Open a glossary item for all young people's cancers mortality are ICD-10 C00-C97 (all malignant tumours), and ICD-10 D32-D33, D35.2-D35.4, D42-D43 and D44.3-D44.5 (all benign, uncertain brain, other central nervous system [CNS] and intracranial tumours).

European Age-Standardised Rates were calculated using the 1976 European Standard Population (ESP) unless otherwise stated as calculated with ESP2013. ASRs calculated with ESP2013 are not comparable with ASRs calculated with ESP1976.

'Young people' refers to 15 to 24 year olds, inclusively.

Due to the rarity of cancer in young people compared with the adult population, incidence rates are quoted per million rather than per 100,000 population.

Survival statistics give an overall picture of survival and (unless otherwise stated) include all adults (15-99) diagnosed, at all ages, stages Open a glossary item and co-morbidities Open a glossary item. The survival time experienced by an individual patient may be much higher or lower, depending on specific patient and tumour characteristics.

In risk factor statistics, meta-analyses Open a glossary item and systematic reviews Open a glossary item are cited where available, as they provide the best overview of all available research and most take study quality into account. Individual case-control and cohort studies Open a glossary item are reported where such aggregated data are lacking.

See on terminology used for statistics and reporting of cancer, and the methods used to calculate some of the statistics are also available.

Last reviewed:

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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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