Colorectal cancer statistics

Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer in the world, with nearly 1.4 million new cases diagnosed in 2012.

Approximately 95 per cent of colorectal cancers are adenocarcinomas. Other types of cancer that can occur here include mucinous carinomas and adenosquamous carcinomas.

The Continuous Update Project Panel judged that there was convincing evidence that consuming red meat, processed meat and alcoholic drinks (men); body fatness, abdominal fatness and adult attained height increase the risk of colorectal cancer. There was also convincing evidence that physical activity and consuming foods high in dietary fibre protect against this cancer. Garlic, milk and calcium probably protect and consuming alcoholic drinks (women) probably increase the risk of this cancer.

Preventability estimates using the new findings from the Continuous Update Project show that about 47% of cases of colorectal cancer in the UK can be prevented by eating and drinking healthily, being physically active and maintaining a healthy weight.

The countries with the top 20 highest incidence of colorectal cancer in 2012 are given in the tables below.

Both sexes

  • Republic of Korea had the highest rate of colorectal cancer, followed by Slovakia and Hungary.
  • About 54 per cent of colorectal cancer cases occurred in more developed countries.
  • The highest incidence of colorectal cancer was in Oceania and Europe and the lowest incidence in Africa and Asia.
Rank Country Age-Standardised Rate per 100,000 (World)
1 Korea, Republic of 45.0
2 Slovakia 42.7
3 Hungary 42.3
4 Denmark 40.5
5 The Netherlands 40.2
6 Czech Republic 38.9
6 Norway 38.9
8 Australia 38.4
9 New Zealand 37.3
10 Slovenia 37.0
11 Belgium 36.7
12 Israel 35.9
13 Canada 35.2
14 Ireland 34.9
15 Italy 33.9
16 Singapore 33.7
17 Spain 33.1
18 Croatia 32.9
19 Serbia 32.6
20 Japan 32.2

Source: Ferlay J, Soerjomataram I, Ervik M, Dikshit R, Eser S, Mathers C, Rebelo M, Parkin DM, Forman D, Bray, F. GLOBOCAN 2012 v1.1, Cancer Incidence and Mortality Worldwide: IARC CancerBase No. 11 [Internet]. Lyon, France: International Agency for Research on Cancer; 2014. Available from: http://globocan.iarc.fr, accessed on 16/01/2015.

Men

  • Slovakia had the highest rate of colorectal cancer in 2012, followed by Hungary and Republic of Korea.
  • About 53 per cent of colorectal cancer cases occurred in more developed countries.
  • The highest incidence of colorectal cancer was in Oceania and Europe; and the lowest incidence in Africa and, Latin America and Caribbean.
Rank Country Age-Standardised Rate per 100,000 (World)
1 Slovakia 61.6
2 Hungary 58.9
3 Korea, Republic of 58.7
4 Czech Republic 54.0
5 Slovenia 49.7
6 The Netherlands 47.5
7 Denmark 45.9
8 Australia 45.5
9 Belgium 45.2
10 Croatia 44.2
11 Spain 43.9
12 Serbia 43.4
13 Ireland 43.1
14 Israel 43.0
15 Norway 42.6
15 Canada 42.6
17 Japan 42.1
17 Luxemburg 42.1
19 Portugal 41.8
20 Italy 41.5

Source: Ferlay J, Soerjomataram I, Ervik M, Dikshit R, Eser S, Mathers C, Rebelo M, Parkin DM, Forman D, Bray, F. GLOBOCAN 2012 v1.1, Cancer Incidence and Mortality Worldwide: IARC CancerBase No. 11 [Internet]. Lyon, France: International Agency for Research on Cancer; 2014. Available from: http://globocan.iarc.fr, accessed on 16/01/2015.

Women

  • Norway had the highest rate of colorectal cancer in 2012, followed by Denmark and The Netherlands.
  • About 55 per cent of colorectal cancer cases occurred in more developed countries.
  • The highest incidence of colorectal cancer was Oceania and Europe; and the lowest incidence Africa and Asia.
Rank Country Age-Standardised Rate per 100,000 (World)
1 Norway 35.8
2 Denmark 35.7
3 The Netherlands 33.9
4 New Zealand 33.5
5 Korea, Republic of 33.3
6 Australia 32.0
7 Hungary 30.5
8 Israel 30.3
9 Belgium 29.5
10 Slovakia 29.3
11 Canada 28.5
12 Iceland 28.2
13 Singapore 28.0
14 Ireland 27.7
15 Italy 27.5
16 Czech Republic 27.1
17 Slovenia 27.0
18 Sweden 26.5
19 Barbados 26.1
20 Uruguay 25.4

Source: Ferlay J, Soerjomataram I, Ervik M, Dikshit R, Eser S, Mathers C, Rebelo M, Parkin DM, Forman D, Bray, F. GLOBOCAN 2012 v1.1, Cancer Incidence and Mortality Worldwide: IARC CancerBase No. 11 [Internet]. Lyon, France: International Agency for Research on Cancer; 2014. Available from: http://globocan.iarc.fr, accessed on 16/01/2015.