1 Introduction

Data on cancer diagnoses is provided to UK Biobank by the NHS Digital and Public Health England for participants residing in England and Wales, and the NHS Central Register (NHSCR) for participants residing in Scotland. Cancer registries acquire information on cancer diagnoses from a variety of sources including hospitals, cancer centres and treatment centres, hospices and nursing homes, private hospitals, cancer screening programmes, other cancer registers, general practices, death certificates, and Hospital Episode Statistics (HES) and Cancer Waiting Time (CWT) data. (In many instances, more than one source of information is available to cancer registries from a single organisation, for example hospital patient information systems, pathology laboratories, medical records departments and radiotherapy databases). This report details the number of prevalent and incident cases of cancer within the UK Biobank cohort, as identified through linkage to national cancer registries.

2 Aim

The aim of this report is to provide researchers with an indication of the numbers of prevalent and incident cases of cancers in the UK Biobank Resource, in order to guide timings for submitting cancer-related research applications. Please See Table 1.

  • Prevalent cases of cancer are defined as those diagnosed prior to the recruitment date into UK Biobank.
  • Incident cases of cancer are defined as those diagnosed after the recruitment date into UK Biobank.

3 Inclusion criteria

  • If a participant was diagnosed with cancer before and after baseline, only the prevalent case is counted.

  • If a participant was diagnosed several times with cancer in the same site, only the first one is counted.

  • If a participant was diagnosed with cancer in different sites on different dates, only the first one is counted.

  • If a participant was diagnosed with cancer in different sites on the same date, both are counted. This occurs for (N = 44 individuals with prevalent cancers and 0 individuals with incident cancers).

  • This summary only includes cancers identified from the cancer registry (cancer records from self-reported cancer, primary care records, hospital records are not included here).

  • The numbers of cases of cancers is provided by broad cancer groupings (according to ICD10 or ICD9 codes), as well as the numbers for individual sub-sites of most interest to researchers. Please contact the Access Team if you wish to enquire about the numbers of cases of a specific cancer site (i.e. for ICD10/ICD9 codes not included in this report).

  • The earliest record of cancer diagnosis in the UK Biobank cohort is 20 September 1957. This is the earliest date for which cancer registry data is available and hence cancers diagnosed prior to this date are not included here.

  • The numbers of cases of benign neoplasms may be under-estimated because not all benign neoplasms are routinely registered by cancer registries.

  • The contents of this document will be updated periodically, as and when follow-up data is incorporated into the UK Biobank Resource.

4 Information on this report

  • This report was created on the 07 July, 2020.
  • This report includes the numbers of cancers diagnosed during complete follow-up, as defined by the UK Biobank censoring date.
  • The latest cancer registry record linked to UKBiobank data was the 14 December, 2016




5 Numbers of prevalent and incident cancers

Table 1: Number of prevalent and incident cancers identified from the cancer registry for UK Biobank participants
Type Group Site Prevalent Incident
Malignant Oral cancer Total 526 510
Base Of Tongue 41 72
Lip 25 12
Other And Unspecified Parts Of Tongue 112 88
Gum 16 27
Floor Of Mouth 30 22
Palate 33 26
Other And Unspecified Parts Of Mouth 27 31
Parotid Gland 67 28
Other And Unspecified Major Salivary Glands 17 9
Tonsil 99 132
Oropharynx 11 21
Nasopharynx 25 13
Pyriform Sinus 12 9
Hypopharynx 3 11
Other And Ill-Defined Sites In The Lip, Oral Cavity And Pharynx 8 9
Gastrointestinal cancer Total 2841 5051
Oesophagus 137 496
Stomach 144 330
Small Intestine 54 122
Colon 1334 1977
Rectosigmoid Junction 234 187
Rectum 724 842
Anus And Anal Canal 79 84
Liver And Intrahepatic Bile Ducts 36 280
Gallbladder 7 64
Other And Unspecified Parts Of Biliary Tract 33 83
Pancreas 54 568
Other And Ill-Defined Digestive Organs 5 18
Lung cancer Total 306 1934
Trachea 4 2
Bronchus And Lung 302 1932
Respiratory cancer Total 224 145
Nasal Cavity And Middle Ear 17 19
Accessory Sinuses 8 8
Larynx 180 93
Thymus 12 14
Heart, Mediastinum And Pleura 7 9
Other And Ill-Defined Sites In The Respiratory System And Intrathoracic Organs 0 2
Bone cancer Total 66 28
Bone And Articular Cartilage Of Limbs 36 15
Bone And Articular Cartilage Of Other And Unspecified Sites 30 13
Skin cancer Total 1972 1370
Malignant Melanoma Of Skin 1972 1370
Mesothelioma Total 290 470
Mesothelioma 13 233
Kaposi’s Sarcoma 52 5
Peripheral Nerves And Autonomic Nervous System 13 5
Retroperitoneum And Peritoneum 31 95
Other Connective And Soft Tissue 181 132
Breast cancer Total 9099 5219
Breast 9099 5219
Female genital cancer Total 2573 1564
Vulva 74 57
Vagina 14 9
Cervix Uteri 916 65
Corpus Uteri 864 823
Uterus 21 20
Ovary 647 537
Other And Unspecified Female Genital Organs 25 53
Placenta 12 0
Male genital cancer Total 3812 5585
Penis 35 30
Prostate 3083 5486
Testis 683 65
Other And Unspecified Male Genital Organs 11 4
Urinary tract cancer Total 1108 1282
Kidney 488 666
Renal Pelvis 17 50
Ureter 13 27
Bladder 584 530
Other And Unspecified Urinary Organs 6 9
Eye, brain, neural cancer Total 272 508
Eye And Adnexa 104 59
Meninges 9 8
Brain 138 436
Spinal Cord, Cranial Nerves And Other Parts Of Central Nervous System 21 5
Endocrine cancer Total 367 238
Thyroid Gland 321 220
Adrenal Gland 15 13
Other Endocrine Glands And Related Structures 31 5
Lymphoma Total 1359 1188
Hodgkin’s Disease 364 81
Follicular (Nodular) Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma 319 241
Diffuse Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma 354 542
Peripheral And Cutaneous T-Cell Lymphomas 77 94
Other And Unspecified Types Of Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma 238 206
Other Specified Types Of T-Nk-Cell Lymphoma 0 1
Malignant Immunoproliferative Diseases 7 23
Multiple myeloma Total 185 397
Multiple Myeloma And Malignant Plasma Cell Neoplasms 185 397
Leukaemia Total 509 608
Lymphoid Leukaemia 303 372
Myeloid Leukaemia 191 215
Monocytic Leukaemia 4 7
Other Leukaemias Of Specified Cell Type 1 5
Leukaemia Of Unspecified Cell Type 10 9
Malignant neoplasms of lymphoid, haematopoietic and related tissue Total 13 23
Other And Unspecified Malignant Neoplasms Of Lymphoid, Haematopoietic And Related Tissue 13 23
Carcinoma in situ In situ neoplasms Total 8692 3324
Oral Cavity, Oesophagus And Stomach 21 50
Other And Unspecified Digestive Organs 84 213
Middle Ear And Respiratory System 29 33
Melanoma In Situ 499 624
Skin 691 424
Breast 1345 990
Cervix Uteri 5259 283
Other And Unspecified Genital Organs 298 280
Other And Unspecified Sites 466 427
Benign Benign cancer Total 753 348
Mouth And Pharynx 1 0
Major Salivary Glands 47 0
Colon, Rectum, Anus And Anal Canal 2 0
Other And Ill-Defined Parts Of Digestive System 0 1
Other And Unspecified Intrathoracic Organs 0 2
Bone And Articular Cartilage 2 0
Benign Haemangioma And Lymphangioma, Any Site 3 0
Ovary 3 0
Urinary Organs 4 1
Meninges 282 178
Brain And Other Parts Of Central Nervous System 196 78
Thyroid Gland 1 0
Other And Unspecified Endocrine Glands 208 88
Other And Unspecified Sites 4 0
Unspecified Unspecified cancer Total 11401 13459
Other Malignant Neoplasms Of Skin 9736 11932
Other And Ill-Defined Sites 25 17
Secondary And Unspecified Malignant Neoplasm Of Lymph Nodes 93 58
Secondary Malignant Neoplasm Of Respiratory And Digestive Organs 20 107
Secondary Malignant Neoplasm Of Other Sites 24 41
Malignant Neoplasm Without Specification Of Site 34 131
Independent (Primary) Multiple Sites 0 1
Oral Cavity And Digestive Organs 239 146
Middle Ear And Respiratory And Intrathoracic Organs 20 11
Female Genital Organs 210 31
Male Genital Organs 31 6
Urinary Organs 366 410
Meninges 10 20
Brain And Central Nervous System 65 29
Endocrine Glands 57 20
Polycythemia Vera 115 63
Myelodysplastic Syndromes 36 107
Neoplasms Of Uncertain Or Unknown Behaviour Of Lymphoid, Haematopoietic And Related Tissue 173 219
Other And Unspecified Sites 147 110