The disease burden for colorectal cancer is quantifiable

A new report describes for the first time, the incidence, mortality and risk factors for colorectal cancer in 195 countries between 1990 and 2017. The data provides a strong basis for policies towards prevention.

An increasing number of patients are surviving

A new comprehensive report on colorectal cancer describes for the first time, and in detail, the incidence, mortality and risk factors in 195 countries between 1990 and 2017. The data provides an important basis for strategies, demands, and policies towards prevention.

Colorectal cancer is now common, particularly in the industrialized world, and yet precise statistics are often not available. However, these data are important for determining incidences and mortality rates, in short, the disease burden. Furthermore, it becomes more difficult to make concise demands for prevention and reliable planning if solid data is lacking.

More cases overall, but also more cancer survivors

In a study funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, scientists have now, for the first time, collected registry data and survey results from relatives of deceased colorectal cancer patients to estimate incidence, mortality, and loss of quality of life due to colorectal cancer.

The results showed that the worldwide incidence of colorectal cancer was about 1.8 million cases in 2017. 896,000 people worldwide died of colorectal cancer in that year. The resulting incidence of approximately 23.2/100,000 person-years had also increased by almost 10% since 1990. The mortality rate was 11.5/100,000 person-years and had even decreased by almost 14% in the same period. The loss of disability-adjusted life year (DALYs) in the case of colorectal cancer was mainly due to calcium deficiency, alcohol abuse, and a low-dairy diet.

Does the result have an impact on medical practice?

Based on these data, a slight increase in the number of colorectal cancer cases can be expected in the medium term. However, fortunately, the trend indicates that more patients will survive in parallel to this rise in cases.

Original publication:
GBD 2017 Colorectal Cancer Collaborators. The global, regional, and national burden of colorectal cancer and its attributable risk factors in 195 countries and territories, 1990-2017: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2017; Lancet Gastroenterol Hepatol 2019; doi:10.1016/S2468-1253(19)30345-0