About this release

This release of the Cancer incidence projections dashboard by Public Health Scotland (PHS) presents projected data using models developed by Cancer Research UK (CRUK). The projections are based on historical trends in cancer incidence and population estimates and projections for Scotland. The dashboard provides cancer incidence projections for the period 2019 to 2040. PHS previously released incidence projections in 2015 using a different methodology to that of CRUK. Therefore, any comparisons made should be treated with caution.

Main points

For the period 2019 to 2021 and 2038 to 2040 CRUK projects:

  • The number of new cancer cases (excluding non-melanoma skin cancer) is predicted to rise by 22%. This rise is mainly due to the population growing older.
  • The average number of cases per year will increase from over 34,500 cases in 2019 to 2021, to over 42,000 cases in 2038 to 2040.
  • Lung, breast and bowel cancer are predicted to continue to be the most common cancers in 2038 to 2040.
  • While welcome reductions in smoking prevalence have occurred in Scotland, there remains considerable potential to prevent cancers through further reductions in smoking, reducing overweight and obesity, improving diet and reducing alcohol consumption.


The projected cancer incidence data were calculated by the Cancer Intelligence Team at Cancer Research UK, February 2023. They used an age-period-cohort modelling approach which is described on the Cancer Research UK website. Public Health Scotland, in 2024, will release their own cancer incidence projections based on the methodology used in 2015.

General enquiries

If you have an enquiry relating to this publication, please contact Greig Stanners at phs.cancerstats@phs.scot.

Media enquiries

If you have a media enquiry relating to this publication, please contact the Communications and Engagement team.

Requesting other formats and reporting issues

If you require publications or documents in other formats, please email phs.otherformats@phs.scot.

To report any issues with a publication, please email phs.generalpublications@phs.scot.

Older versions of this publication

Versions of this publication released before 16 March 2020 may be found on the Data and Intelligence, Health Protection Scotland or Improving Health websites.

Last updated: 21 March 2024
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