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 24 May, 2022.


2 Number of deaths

Since recruitment, 37733 UK Biobank participants have died, with a mean age at death of 69.6 years. Men constitute 59% of deaths but are on average 5 months older than women when they die.

Sex N Percent Mean Age at Death
F 15384 41 69.4
M 22349 59 69.8


3 Top 20 causes of death within the UK Biobank cohort

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 within the UKB cohort

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 within the UK Biobank cohort - breakdown by age at death

Table 1: The 20 most common causes of death within the UKB cohort, broken down by age at death
GroupedCause <50 years 50 - 60 years 60 - 70 years 70+ years Total
Ischemic heart disease 43 405 1497 2096 4041
Lung cancer 26 274 1289 1658 3247
Colorectal cancer 22 249 641 894 1806
Cerebrovascular disease 9 107 464 1039 1619
Dementia 0 11 172 1417 1600
Breast cancer 65 306 616 486 1473
Pancreatic cancer 12 128 516 745 1401
COVID19 0 47 192 919 1158
Prostate cancer 1 37 333 730 1101
Emphysema, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease 4 42 316 686 1048
Injury and other external causes 82 225 338 358 1003
Oesophageal cancer 6 90 359 447 902
Brain cancer 23 135 367 317 842
Lymphoma 8 56 229 419 712
Ovarian cancer 10 83 260 315 668
Liver cancer 4 66 235 343 648
Interstitial pulmonary diseases 2 21 165 446 634
Leukaemia 9 50 198 344 601
Other diseases of the digestive system 10 68 197 312 587
Pneumonia 6 40 177 348 571
Top 20 Causes Total 342 2440 8561 14319 25662
Other Causes Total 223 1161 3513 5919 10816



3.3 Top 20 causes of death within the UK Biobank cohort - breakdown by year of death

Table 2: Numbers of the 20 most common causes of death within the UK Biobank cohort, broken down by year of death
GroupedCause 2006 - 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 Total
Ischemic heart disease 386 204 217 254 261 302 338 404 383 390 472 430 1322
Lung cancer 277 190 234 254 263 272 259 324 284 326 321 243 1218
Colorectal cancer 132 122 119 117 147 144 165 156 147 190 221 146 637
Breast cancer 170 114 96 122 117 108 127 117 121 126 161 94 619
Cerebrovascular disease 95 55 76 85 125 100 139 132 171 203 242 196 436
Pancreatic cancer 97 59 88 84 99 117 118 142 151 144 161 141 427
Injury and other external causes 116 64 74 81 86 100 100 77 122 61 69 53 421
Prostate cancer 64 60 52 67 92 94 94 117 110 129 124 98 335
Brain cancer 79 55 60 70 56 81 74 62 84 92 74 55 320
Oesophageal cancer 74 44 58 59 70 74 72 74 106 86 93 92 305
Lymphoma 51 38 46 40 65 72 57 61 63 71 77 71 240
Ovarian cancer 56 43 40 55 46 56 57 59 59 64 83 50 240
Emphysema, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease 46 30 42 46 60 80 96 118 128 167 122 113 224
Leukaemia 40 30 33 38 61 55 61 33 56 72 75 47 202
Liver cancer 39 35 35 40 51 58 51 69 56 68 75 71 200
Other diseases of the digestive system 44 22 28 31 48 40 60 53 51 61 88 61 173
Interstitial pulmonary diseases 23 19 30 42 49 38 63 73 62 86 84 65 163
Pneumonia 29 11 24 26 34 60 57 50 89 84 66 41 124
Dementia 5 9 21 41 38 65 118 155 227 268 348 305 114
COVID19 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 697 461 0
Top 20 Causes Total 1823 1204 1373 1552 1768 1916 2106 2276 2470 2688 3653 2833 7720
Other Causes Total 742 496 512 692 735 823 946 1058 1117 1228 1335 1132 3258






#Appendix 1: ICD10 Codes used to group main causes of death in this analysis.
GroupedCause ICD10_codes
Oesophageal cancer C15
Colorectal cancer C18, C19, C20
Liver cancer C22
Pancreatic cancer C25
Lung cancer C33, C34
Breast cancer C50
Ovarian cancer C56
Prostate cancer C61
Brain cancer C71
Lymphoma C81, C82, C83, C84, C85, C86, C88
Leukaemia C91, C92, C93, C94, C95
Dementia F01, F03, F05, G30, G31
Ischemic heart disease I20, I21, I24, I25
Cerebrovascular disease I60, I61, I62, I63, I64, I67, I69
Pneumonia J12, J13, J15, J18
Emphysema, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease J43, J44
Interstitial pulmonary diseases J80, J81, J82, J84
Other diseases of the digestive system K31, K61, K62, K63, K71, K72, K74, K75, K76, K80, K81, K82, K83, K85, K86, K90, K92
COVID19 U07
Injury and other external causes V03, V04, V05, V09, V13, V14, V18, V19, V20, V23, V27, V28, V29, V42, V43, V44, V47, V48, V49, V80, V89, V92, V93, V95, V96, V97, W00, W01, W05, W06, W07, W08, W10, W11, W13, W15, W17, W19, W20, W22, W55, W65, W67, W70, W74, W76, W78, W79, W80, W84, W87, W94, X00, X04, X08, X09, X11, X16, X23, X31, X40, X41, X42, X44, X45, X47, X49, X59, X60, X61, X62, X63, X64, X67, X69, X70, X71, X73, X74, X76, X78, X80, X81, X83, X84, X99, Y10, Y11, Y12, Y13, Y14, Y17, Y20, Y21, Y28, Y30, Y31, Y34, Y40, Y44, Y60, Y65, Y83, Y84, Y85, Y86, Y87, Y88