ePrivacy and GPDR Cookie Consent by Cookie Consent

COLORECTAL CANCER: Colorectal cancer statistics, 2020


March 30, 2020


Epidemiological studies from the US & UK show that whilst colorectal cancer incidence is falling in those aged over 65, rates are increasing in younger age groups, with the steepest rises seen in the youngest age bands.

Colorectal cancer statistics, 2020


Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the second most common cause of cancer death in the United States. Every 3 years, the American Cancer Society provides an update of CRC occurrence based on incidence data (available through 2016) from population‐based cancer registries and mortality data (through 2017) from the National Center for Health Statistics. In 2020, approximately 147,950 individuals will be diagnosed with CRC and 53,200 will die from the disease, including 17,930 cases and 3,640 deaths in individuals aged younger than 50 years. The incidence rate during 2012 through 2016 ranged from 30 (per 100,000 persons) in Asian/Pacific Islanders to 45.7 in blacks and 89 in Alaska Natives. Rapid declines in incidence among screening‐aged individuals during the 2000s continued during 2011 through 2016 in those aged 65 years and older (by 3.3% annually) but reversed in those aged 50 to 64 years, among whom rates increased by 1% annually. Among individuals aged younger than 50 years, the incidence rate increased by approximately 2% annually for tumors in the proximal and distal colon, as well as the rectum, driven by trends in non‐Hispanic whites. CRC death rates during 2008 through 2017 declined by 3% annually in individuals aged 65 years and older and by 0.6% annually in individuals aged 50 to 64 years while increasing by 1.3% annually in those aged younger than 50 years. Mortality declines among individuals aged 50 years and older were steepest among blacks, who also had the only decreasing trend among those aged younger than 50 years, and excluded American Indians/Alaska Natives, among whom rates remained stable. Progress against CRC can be accelerated by increasing access to guideline‐recommended screening and high‐quality treatment, particularly among Alaska Natives, and elucidating causes for rising incidence in young and middle‐aged adults.



Demographic trends in the incidence of young‐onset colorectal cancer: a population‐based study



Evidence is emerging that the incidence of colorectal cancer is increasing in young adults, but the descriptive epidemiology required to better understand these trends is currently lacking.


A population‐based cohort study was carried out including all adults aged 20–49 years diagnosed with colorectal cancer in England between 1974 and 2015. Data were extracted from the National Cancer Registration and Analysis Service database using ICD‐9/10 codes for colorectal cancer. Temporal trends in age‐specific incidence rates according to sex, anatomical subsite, index of multiple deprivation quintile and geographical region were analysed using Joinpoint regression.


A total of 56 134 new diagnoses of colorectal cancer were analysed. The most sustained increase in incidence rate was in the group aged 20–29 years, which was mainly driven by a rise in distal tumours. The magnitude of incident rate increases was similar in both sexes and across Index of Multiple Deprivation quintiles, although the most pronounced increases in incidence occurred in the southern regions of England.


Colorectal cancer should no longer be considered a disease of older people. Changes in incidence rates should be used to inform future screening policy, preventative strategies and research agendas, as well as increasing public understanding that younger people need to be aware of the symptoms of colorectal cancer.