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 24 May, 2022.
  • 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 25 June, 2021
  • 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 25558 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 16254 64 50.8
M 9304 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 618 2852 4140 1507
Prostate cancer 2 45 1171 1867
Colorectal cancer 102 397 995 799
Malignant melanoma 399 573 642 364
Lymphoma 381 316 401 263
Cervical cancer 542 299 70 9
Uterine cancer 31 143 462 249
Testicular cancer 361 218 90 16
Ovarian cancer 120 171 232 125
Bladder cancer 58 121 235 174
Leukaemia 81 103 187 140
Kidney cancer 29 99 215 146
Thyroid cancer 71 97 115 40
Lung cancer 20 50 133 105
Multiple myeloma 3 29 82 72
Other connective, soft tissue cancer 48 43 60 31
Laryngeal cancer 7 35 85 54
Mouth cancer 29 41 65 39
Tongue cancer 14 45 68 26
Stomach cancer 5 32 52 55
Top 20 Cancers Total 2921 5709 9500 6081
Other Cancers Total 238 356 483 286


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 59 598 2805 5654
Prostate cancer 0 0 1 124 2960
Colorectal cancer 0 23 87 489 1694
Malignant melanoma 1 50 237 538 1152
Lymphoma 5 93 178 302 783
Cervical cancer 2 57 403 314 144
Uterine cancer 0 5 39 202 639
Testicular cancer 1 55 193 226 210
Ovarian cancer 2 20 55 171 400
Bladder cancer 0 12 60 201 315
Leukaemia 1 14 33 119 344
Kidney cancer 1 3 20 88 377
Thyroid cancer 0 15 27 78 203
Lung cancer 0 1 20 60 227
Multiple myeloma 0 0 3 21 162
Other connective, soft tissue cancer 1 11 28 44 98
Laryngeal cancer 0 2 14 42 123
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 16 431 2028 5918 15818
Other Cancers Total 3 59 127 298 876





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), 43254 UK Biobank participants have been diagnosed with malignant cancer, with a mean age at diagnosis of 66.2. Of these, 47% were women.

Sex N Percent Mean Age at Diagnosis
F 20206 47 64.9
M 23048 53 67.3


3.1 Top 20 most common incident cancers


Figure 3: 20 most common incident cancer diagnoses within the UK Biobank cohort