1 Introduction

The UK Biobank receives cancer diagnoses for participants on a regular basis through linkage to national cancer registries. In this report we present summary statistics on the most common malignant cancer diagnoses within the UK Biobank cohort (excluding benign, non-malignant and unspecified cancers). The numbers of cases of cancers is provided by broad cancer groupings (according to ICD10 or ICD9 codes)

1.1 Information on this report

  • This report was created on the 07 July, 2020.
  • This report includes complete follow-up up to the current UK Biobank censoring date for cancer registry data.
  • The latest cancer registry record linked to UKBiobank data was the 14 December, 2016
  • A report summarising all prevalent and incident cancers (including benign, non-malignant and unspecified cancers) can be found here in the report entitled “Cancer Numbers Report”.



2 Summary of Prevalent Cancers

Prevalent cancers were those diagnosed prior to recruitment to the Biobank study (prior to the baseline assessment). If a participant was diagnosed with a particular cancer both before and after baseline, only the prevalent cancer is counted. If there were several dates of diagnoses for a particular cancer, the earliest date is counted. If at the earliest date, a participant received diagnoses for multiple types of malignant prevalent cancer the participant is counted for each cancer type for which they were diagnosed.

Prior to recruitment to the Biobank study 25506 participants had been diagnosed with cancer with a mean age at diagnosis of 52.2. Of these, 64% were women.

Sex N Percent Mean Age at Diagnosis
F 16221 64 50.8
M 9285 36 54.7


2.1 Top 20 most common prevalent cancers


Figure 1: 20 most common prevalent cancer diagnoses within the UK Biobank cohort



2.2 Top 20 prevalent cancers by gender

Figure 2: 20 most common prevalent cancers within the UK Biobank cohort by gender


2.3 Top 20 prevalent cancers by age at diagnosis


Table 1: 20 most common prevalent cancers stratified by age at diagnosis
Type <40 years 40 - 49 years 50 - 59 years 60+ years
Breast cancer 616 2843 4134 1506
Prostate cancer 2 45 1170 1866
Colorectal cancer 102 396 995 799
Malignant melanoma 395 572 641 364
Lymphoma 379 316 401 263
Cervical cancer 540 297 70 9
Uterine cancer 31 143 462 249
Testicular cancer 359 218 90 16
Ovarian cancer 119 171 232 125
Bladder cancer 57 121 232 174
Leukaemia 81 103 185 140
Kidney cancer 29 99 214 146
Thyroid cancer 69 97 115 40
Lung cancer 20 49 132 105
Multiple myeloma 3 29 81 72
Other connective, soft tissue cancer 48 43 59 31
Laryngeal cancer 7 35 85 53
Mouth cancer 29 41 65 39
Tongue cancer 14 45 68 26
Stomach cancer 5 32 52 55
Top 20 Cancers Total 2905 5695 9483 6078
Other Cancers Total 238 355 482 286


2.4 Top 20 prevalent cancers by year of diagnosis


Table 2: 20 most common prevalent cancers by decade of diagnosis
Type <1970s 1970s 1980s 1990s 2000 to Recruitment
Breast cancer 1 58 595 2799 5646
Prostate cancer 0 0 1 124 2958
Colorectal cancer 0 23 87 488 1694
Malignant melanoma 1 50 235 535 1151
Lymphoma 5 93 175 303 783
Cervical cancer 2 57 401 312 144
Uterine cancer 0 5 39 202 639
Testicular cancer 1 55 192 225 210
Ovarian cancer 1 20 55 171 400
Bladder cancer 0 12 60 198 314
Leukaemia 1 14 33 119 342
Kidney cancer 1 3 20 88 376
Thyroid cancer 0 15 27 76 203
Lung cancer 0 1 19 59 227
Multiple myeloma 0 0 3 21 161
Other connective, soft tissue cancer 1 11 28 44 97
Laryngeal cancer 0 2 14 42 122
Mouth cancer 1 10 14 39 110
Tongue cancer 0 1 9 33 110
Stomach cancer 0 0 9 22 113
Top 20 Cancers Total 15 430 2016 5900 15800
Other Cancers Total 3 59 127 297 875





3 Summary of Incident Cancers

Incident cancers are those diagnosed post recruitment to the Biobank study. If a participant has several dates of diagnoses for a particular cancer, only the first diagnosis is counted. If a participant has been diagnosed with multiple types of cancer, the participant is counted for each cancer type for which they were diagnosed.

Since recruitment (and up to the current censoring date), 26120 UK Biobank participants have been diagnosed with malignant cancer, with a mean age at diagnosis of 64.4. Of these, 48% were women.