In a new study, researchers from the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) provide estimates of the incidence of and mortality from colorectal cancer in 185 countries in 2020 and predictions of the future burden in 2040. The study was published in the journal Gut.
In 2020, more than 1.9 million new cases of colorectal cancer and more than 930 000 deaths due to colorectal cancer were estimated to have occurred worldwide. Large geographical variations in incidence and mortality rates were observed. The incidence rates were highest in Europe and Australia and New Zealand, and the mortality rates were highest in Eastern Europe.
The authors predict that by 2040 the burden of colorectal cancer will increase to 3.2 million new cases per year (an increase of 63%) and 1.6 million deaths per year (an increase of 73%). Incidence rates of colorectal cancer have been decreasing in high-income countries, largely as a result of effective screening programmes. However, colorectal cancer remains a commonly diagnosed disease; increasing incidence rates are observed in younger adults and in countries that are undergoing economic transition. More than 80% of the new cases projected to occur in 2040 are predicted to occur in countries with high or very high levels of the Human Development Index.
This study highlights the importance of prevention through addressing modifiable risk factors, as well as via the detection and removal of precancerous lesions. Future research into etiological risk factors in diverse populations, alongside the implementation of effective primary prevention strategies, is needed to reduce the future impact of this highly preventable disease.
Morgan E, Arnold M, Gini A, Lorenzoni V, Cabasag CJ, Laversanne M, et al.
The global burden of colorectal cancer in 2020 and 2040: incidence and mortality estimates from GLOBOCAN
Gut, Published online 8 September 2022;