Colorectal Cancer is the second leading cause of death globally

Colorectal Cancer

Despite many countries having screening programs for Colorectal Cancer, it is the second leading cause of cancer death globally.

Europe - 2nd most common cancer in EU277
Estimated new cases of CRC - 341,419
Deaths from CRC in 2020-21- 156,105 
US - 3rd most common cancer3
Estimated new cases of CRC - 155,000
Deaths from CRC in 2020-21 - 54,443   
Australia - 4th most common cancer5   
Estimated new cases of CRC - 15,7136
Deaths from CRC in 2022 - 5,3266
United Kingdom - 4th most common cancer
Estimated new cases of CRC - 52,128
Deaths from CRC in 2020-21 - 21,682   
New Zealand - most common cancer20
Estimated new cases of CRC - 3000
Deaths from CRC in 2022 - 1200

The Rise in Incidence of Colorectal Cancer (CRC)

Globally, an estimated 1.94 million people were diagnosed with CRC in 2020, and almost 1 million lives were lost to the disease.1 It is predicted that the global number of CRC cases will reach 3.2 million in the next 20 years.1 The challenge with CRC globally has been low participation in screening programs and the increasing incidence rates, particularly among the younger people.1 It has been shown that 11% of people diagnosed with CRC are below the age of 50,2 posing a tremendous public health challenge, premature death and increased healthcare costs.1

Statistics from around the world show that men and women have similar risk to develop CRC,1 but men are less likely to get screened.

Sub-optimal participation rate is a big contributor to late diagnosis of CRC.

Country Graph

Participation in CRC screening remains suboptimal despite national programs in many countries worldwide

  • 5-year survival rates for those diagnosed at an early stage of CRC are over 90%8
  • 33–56% of the eligible population across Australia, New Zealand, Europe, UK and US9-12 remains unscreened

  • Participation rate in CRC screening is lower in rural areas versus urban, leading to advanced stage of disease at diagnosis13,14

  • Challenges with current screening methods, which in most countries is FIT, include:
    • Inconvenience of sample collection, discomfort, disgust,  embarrassment, aversion with the procedure and too difficult to use15

From approximately 365 million people eligible for screening across US, Europe, UK, and Australia, almost 200 million (55%) remain unscreened for CRC16-19

World Map


Percentage of people aged 60─74 year screened for CRC with FIT in 2020/2021

Percentage of adults aged ≥50 years who had colonoscopy in the past 10 years (2018 data)

¥ Percentage of people screened for CRC with FIT in 12 European Union Member States in 2018

*CRC screening  Pilot  (2012 – 2017)

§ Based on 2020 UK population aged 60─74 years of 10,57 million and on 33.2% of the eligible population not being screened for CRC (participation rate: 66.8%).

††Based on 2021 US population aged ≥50 years of 115.62 million and on 39.0% of the eligible population not being screened for CRC (participation rate: 61.0%).

‡‡Based on 2021 Australia population aged 50-74 years of 7.08 million and on 56.5% of the eligible population not being screened for CRC (participation rate: 43.5%).

‡‡‡Based on 2021 Europe population aged 50-74 years of 231 million and on 62% of the eligible population not being screened for CRC (participation rate: 38%).

  1. Xi Y, Xu P (2021), Global colorectal cancer burden in 2020 and projections to 2040, Translational Oncology, 14(10), 101174,doi:10.1016/j.tranon.2021.101174 Epub 2021 Jul 6
  3. Colorectal Cancer Statistics | CDC
  4. Bowel cancer incidence statistics | Cancer Research UK
  5. Bowel cancer (Colorectal cancer) in Australia statistics | Cancer Australia
  6. Bowel cancer (Colorectal cancer) in Australia statistics:,2%2C836%20males%20and%202%2C459%20females)
  7. Colorectal cancer burden in EU-27. 2020. Available at:
  8. Hughes et al. J Community Health. Author manuscript; available in PMC 2016 October 25
  9. American Cancer Society. Colorectal Cancer Facts & Figures 2020-2022. Available at: Colorectal Cancer Facts & Figures 2020-2022
  10. Office for Health Improvement & Disparities. Cancer service data 2020/2021. Available at: Cancer Services - Data - OHID (
  11. Australia National Bowel Cancer Screening Program: monitoring report 2021.
  13. Zahnd et al cancer in rural areas US 2018
  14. nrha-cancer-factsheet-july2022 cancer
  15. Gordon NP, Green BB. Factors associated with use and non-use of the Fecal Immunochemical Test (FIT) kit for Colorectal Cancer Screening in Response to a 2012 outreach screening program: a survey study. BMC Public Health. 2015 Jun 11;15:546
  16. UK Office for National Statistics. Interactive population pyramid, mid-2001 to mid-2020. Available at Accessed: 02 November 2022
  17. US population by age. Statista 2020. Available at: Accessed: 02 November 2022
  18. Australian Bureau of Statistics. Population data summary. Available at: Population: Census, 2021 | Australian Bureau of Statistics ( Accessed: 02 November 2022.

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