1 Introduction

The UK Biobank receives death notifications on a regular basis through linkage to national death registries. In this report we present summary statistics on the most common causes of death within the UK Biobank cohort.

  • The main cause of death for each participant is identified by the ICD10 code. To align with researcher interests we present summary statistics for grouped ICD10 codes (see Appendix 1). Please visit UKBiobank Showcase website to see numbers of deaths for each unique ICD10 code.

  • This report includes complete follow-up up to the current UK Biobank censoring date for death registry data.

  • This document was created on the 07 July, 2020.


2 Number of deaths

Since recruitment, 30559 UK Biobank participants have died, with a mean age at death of 68.5 years. Men constitute 60% of deaths but are on average 7 months older than women when they die.

Sex N Percent Mean Age at Death
F 12362 40 68.2
M 18197 60 68.8


3 Top 20 causes of death

The main cause of death for each participant is identified by the ICD10 code. In this analysis we do not consider deaths due to benign cancers.


Figure 1: Numbers of the 20 most common causes of death within the UK Biobank cohort



3.1 Top 20 causes of death by sex

Figure 2: Numbers of the 20 most common causes of death within the UK Biobank cohort by sex



3.2 Top 20 causes of death - breakdown by age at death

Table 1: 20 most common causes of death by age at death
GroupedCause <50 years 50 - 60 years 60 - 70 years 70+ years Total
Ischemic heart disease 43 378 1355 1536 3312
Lung cancer 26 256 1216 1297 2795
Colorectal cancer 22 233 587 680 1522
Breast cancer 65 293 560 361 1279
Cerebrovascular disease 9 96 428 736 1269
Pancreatic cancer 12 123 474 550 1159
Dementia 0 10 154 935 1099
Prostate cancer 1 36 312 566 915
Injury and other external causes 82 208 326 274 890
Emphysema, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease 4 41 284 544 873
Oesophageal cancer 6 81 326 338 751
Brain cancer 23 125 338 255 741
Lymphoma 8 54 218 311 591
Ovarian cancer 10 77 233 241 561
Liver cancer 4 62 217 251 534
Interstitial pulmonary diseases 2 19 153 336 510
Leukaemia 9 48 185 268 510
Pneumonia 6 39 167 284 496
Other diseases of the digestive system 10 62 187 217 476
Kidney cancer 5 44 194 177 420
Top 20 Causes Total 347 2285 7914 10157 20703
Other Causes Total 218 1024 3049 4508 8799



3.3 Top 20 causes of death - breakdown by year of death

Table 2: Numbers of the 20 most common causes of death by year
GroupedCause 2006 - 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 Total
Ischemic heart disease 386 204 217 254 261 302 338 404 383 390 173 1322
Lung cancer 278 190 234 254 263 272 259 324 284 326 111 1219
Colorectal cancer 132 122 119 117 147 144 165 156 147 190 83 637
Breast cancer 170 114 96 122 117 108 127 117 121 126 61 619
Cerebrovascular disease 95 55