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About Blood Cancer

Around 34,000 people are diagnosed with a blood cancer each year in the UK. That's approximately 4 people every hour. It can affect anyone at any age and a diagnosis can be extremely distressing, not just for the patient, but their families, friends, carers and even work colleagues.

There are many different types of blood cancers and some are more common than others. There are 140 different types of blood cancer and the main ones are leukaemia, lymphoma and myeloma. We provide support and advice to anyone affected by any one of the different blood cancers out there.

Here are some key facts about the main blood cancers:







Cancer incidence and mortality data

Premature mortality from all sources in the UK is falling significantly, with the average life expectancy of somebody born today being considerably longer than that of their parents or grandparents. 

However, because of this increased longevity, mortality from other disease areas is increasing, and the focus of treatment and/or disease prevention is changing to address these emerging problems.

The biggest cause of premature mortality is cardiovascular disease (CVD).  Data on the British Heart Foundation Website (collected March 2014) suggested that there were 161,000 deaths due to CVD.

The second highest cause of early mortality is cancer.  Data gathered and collated from Cancer Research UK (CRUK); the National Cancer Intelligence Network (NCIN) and the Haematology Research Network, University of York (HMRN), allowed us to produce a list of the following statistics, with the figures vetted and accepted by the Teenage Cancer Trust and Children with Cancer, two very reliable national charities.

Due to time it takes time to collect, analyse and present the data, it is often several years old by default.

Note: The CRUK data was taken from their website January 2014, and relates to data collected in 2011; the HMRN data was taken from their website also January 2014, and relates to data collected between 2004 – 2011, the NICN data also relates to data collect in 2011.

 Disease Incidence Mortality
All Cancers *4 331,478 159,178
Breast 50,285 11,676
Lung 43,463 35,184
Colorectal 41,581 15,659
Prostate 41,763 10,793
Blood *1 33,866 12,245 *5
Blood *2 37,946 -
Blood *3 40,737 -

*1   All lymphoma, leukaemia, myeloma, myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS), and Myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPN).The three different sets of blood cancer data refer to the below;

*2   All lymphoma, leukaemia, myeloma, MDS, MPN and MGUS.  (Monoclonal Gammopathy of Unknown Significance).

*3 All lymphoma, leukaemia, myeloma, MDS, MPN, MGUS and others – (monoclonal B-cell lymphocytosis and lymphoproliferative disorders not otherwise specified).

*4 not including Non Melanoma Skin Cancer (NMSC).

*5 Mortality data for lymphoma, leukaemia and myeloma are readily available; but not so for the others, including MDS and MPN.  

Disease Incidence Mortality
Hodgkin Lymphoma *6 1,845 303
Non Hodgkin Lymphoma *6 12,783 4,646
Leukaemia *6 8,616 4,603
Myeloma *6 4,792 2,693
MDS *7 2,180 Not available
MPN *7 3,650 Not available
MGUS *7 4,080 Not available
Others *7 2,790 Not available


*7   HMRN

HMRN data is generalised from the population-based patient group that lies at the centre of the UK’s Haematological Malignancy Research Network (HMRN).


Data relating to children, teenagers and young adults is more contradictory, and the numbers vary by source, the following findings will be very close approximations.  For clarity, a child is aged from 0 – 15, and a teenager-young adult is defined as aged between 15 – 25.