UK cancer statistics

Find the latest cancer statistics for the UK, including incidence, mortality, survival rate and preventability. 1 in 2 people in the UK will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime2.

Here we provide the latest cancer statistics for the UK, as well as what proportion of cancer cases could be prevented.

On this page:

> Number of diagnosed cancer cases
> Number of cancer deaths
> Most common types of cancer
> Cancer survival rates
> Breast cancer (& most common cancers in women)
> Prostate cancer (& most common cancers in men)
> Lung cancer statistics
> Bowel cancer statistics
> How to prevent cancer

Cancer incidence in the UK*

In the UK, 387,820 cases of cancer were diagnosed in 2019, the latest year for which data is available. Of these cancer cases, 200,386 were in men, and 187,434 were in women1.

Compared with the 2017 data, this is an increase of just over 21,500 cases (around 5.8%). Cases in men have risen by around 7.2% (up from 186,883), and cases of cancer have gone up 4.4% in women (up from 179,420).

> Download a table of the UK’s most common cancers

*Although there are very subtle differences, 'incidence' and 'cases' both broadly mean the same thing, and refer to the total recorded numbers. Prevalence refers to the proportion of a population who, in this case, have cancer over a specified period of time.

Cancer mortality in the UK

In the UK, there were 166,502 cancer deaths in 2019, the latest year for which data is available. Of these cancer deaths, 88,688 were in men, and 77,814 were in women1. That's more than 450 deaths per day.

It's notable that although cancer deaths have gone up since 2017 (when there were 165,267 recorded), this represents an increase of just 0.7%.

> Download a table of the UK's most common fatal cancers


Most common cancers in the UK

The table below shows the most common 15 cancer types in the UK, based on new cases diagnosed in 20191.

RankingCancer typeNew cases (2019)
1Breast56,987
2Prostate55,068
3Lung48,754
4Bowel44,706
5Skin (melanoma)17,845
6Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma13,979
7Head and neck13,049
8Kidney12,050
9Pancreas11,031
10Bladder10,515
11Uterus10,021
12Leukaemia9,774
13Oesophagus9,296
14Myeloma7,138
15Ovary6,969

Cancer survival rates in the UK

Below are one-year and five-year survival rates for 5 of the most common cancer types in the UK.

One-year survival (%)

Cancer typeUK weighted**
Bowel78.6
Breast96.1
Womb/uterus89.5
Prostate97.2
Lung43.8

Five-year survival (%)

Cancer typeUK weighted**
Bowel58.9
Breast85.9
Womb/uterus75.4
Prostate87.9
Lung19.3
**The weighted % takes into account the percentage of the adult population (=> 16 years of age +) that resides in each of the 4 nations.

Breast cancer in the UK

Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer among women in the UK, with 56,987 new cases in 20191. Three in 10 new cases of cancer in women in 2019 was breast cancer (30.1%).

Breast cancer is rare in men, with around 400 new cases diagnosed each year in the UK.


Prostate cancer in the UK

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer among men in the UK. In 2019, 55,068 cases of prostate cancer were diagnosed1 – more than a quarter (27.5%) of all new cases of cancer in men in the UK. The increase in prostate cancer cases has been attributed to more tests being taken and an increase in life expectancy.


Lung cancer

Lung cancer is the third most common type of cancer in the UK across men and women, with 48,754 new cases in 20191 – totalling 12.5% of all new cases (men and women combined).

Bowel cancer

Also known as colorectal cancer, bowel cancer is the cancer type with the 4th highest number of new cases in the UK. In 2019, there were 44,706 new cases1 (men and women combined), accounting for 11.5% of the total number of new cases.

In fact, the top 4 cancer types accounted for more than half (53%) the total number of new cases in 2019 in the UK.

How to prevent cancer

Cancer is the cause of death for a large number of people each year. Overall, scientists estimate that around 40% of cancer cases could be prevented. That's around 155,000 cases every year in the UK.

There are a range of different risk factors that can influence your chances of developing cancer. However, there are steps that can be taken to help people reduce that risk.

Alongside not smoking, eating a healthy diet, being more active each day and maintaining a healthy weight are important ways you can reduce your cancer risk.

1Cancer statistics based on combined data from England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales. World Cancer Research Fund, 2022.
2Smittenaar CR, Petersen KA, Stewart K, Moitt N. Cancer incidence and mortality projections in the UK until 2035. Br J Cancer 2016 Oct 25;115(9):1147-1155