Macmillan-NCRAS prevalence project

There were two million people living with cancer in 2010, rising to 2.5 million in 2015 and projected to be four million by 2030. The UK Cancer Prevalence project aims to provide a more granular understanding of the cancer population across the UK. The initial phases of this work focus on 20-year prevalence, that is the number of people still alive who had been diagnosed with a cancer in the previous 20 years. Work on total prevalence, equivalent to the 2.5 million people living with cancer in 2015, will be available from summer 2016.

Cancer prevalence: What do we know about the cancer population?

We know that there were two million people living with cancer in 2010, and currently (2015) 2.5 million people are living with cancer. In the UK this will rise to four million by 2030.[1] See our cancer statistics page and download our factsheet [PDF] for the headlines on the total number of people living with cancer (cancer prevalence).

In order to understand more about the cancer population in terms of numbers, we have been working in partnership with the National Cancer Registration and Analysis Service (NCRAS, formerly NCIN). The Macmillan-NCRAS UK Cancer Prevalence Project provides a greater understanding of the population of people living with cancer across the UK. For the first time we have detailed prevalence data available by: 

  • cancer type
  • deprivation group and local area
  • age
  • sex
  • and time since diagnosis.

We know this granular detail for the whole of the UK and broken down into the four nations.

We presented the three following academic posters, which look at the UK Cancer Prevalence Project in more detail, at the Cancer Outcomes conference in June 2015:


What do we know about the cancer population in the UK?


What do we know about the cancer population in the devolved nations?

The total number of people living with cancer (cancer prevalence) in each nation is increasing over time. See the headline numbers for each nation in our factsheet [PDF].

For more information about the UK Cancer Prevalence Project see the nations data briefings on 20-year prevalence, please download the summaries published by Macmillan below:

These summary briefings are supported by a series of data tables containing the most detailed prevalence data we have ever had, alongside guidance on interpretation and use, for more information see the NCRAS website.

We presented all of this work and more at the Cancer Outcomes conference in June 2015. To find out more see our conferences and events section


Working together

The Macmillan-NCRAS UK Cancer Prevalence Project is part of the Macmillan Cancer Support and Public Health England’s National Cancer Registration and Analysis Service Partnership Work Plan. The Project is supported by the Knowledge & Intelligence Team (East) at Public Health England. Data are sourced and presented in collaboration with the Welsh Cancer Intelligence and Surveillance Unit, Health Intelligence Division, Public Health Wales, the Scottish Cancer Registry and the Northern Ireland Cancer Registry, funded by the Public Health Agency for Northern Ireland. For more information visit the NCRAS website and download the Project acknowledgements.