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Colorectal cancer

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Colorectal cancer statistics

Colorectal cancer is the 3rd most commonly diagnosed cancer in Canada (excluding non-melanoma skin cancers). It is the 2nd leading cause of death from cancer in men and the 3rd leading cause of death from cancer in women in Canada.

To provide the most current cancer statistics, researchers use statistical methods to estimate the number of new cancer cases and deaths until actual data become available.

Incidence and mortality

Incidence is the total number of new cases of cancer. Mortality is the number of deaths due to cancer.

It is estimated that in 2015:

  • 25,100 Canadians will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer. This represents 13% of all new cancer cases in 2015.
  • 9,300 Canadians will die from colorectal cancer. This represents 12% of all cancer deaths in 2015.
  • 14,000 men will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer and 5,100 will die from it.
  • 11,100 women will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer and 4,200 will die from it.
  • On average, 69 Canadians will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer every day.
  • On average, 25 Canadians will die from colorectal cancer every day.

Estimated Canadian colorectal cancer statistics (2015)
CategoryMalesFemales

New cases

14,000

11,100

Incidence rate (for every 100,000 people)*

60

40

Deaths

5,100

4,200

Death rate (for every 100,000 people)*

22

14

5-year relative survival (estimates for 2006–2008)

64%

65%

*Age-standardized to the 1991 Canadian Standard Population. Age-standardization is a statistical method that removes the effect of age on the calculated rate. It allows rates to be compared over time or across provinces and territories.

Trends in colorectal cancer

Starting from the mid-1980s, incidence rates declined for both sexes until the mid-1990s (although this decline was more prominent for females). Incidence rates then rose through 2000, only to decline significantly thereafter. This is most likely due to increased use of colorectal cancer screening which can identify and remove precancerous polyps, which can in turn reduce incidence.

Death rates have been declining for men since 2004 and for women since 2000.

Chances (probability) of developing or dying from colorectal cancer

Based on 2010 estimates:

  • About 1 in 14 Canadian men is expected to develop colorectal cancer during his lifetime and 1 in 29 will die from it.
  • About 1 in 16 Canadian women is expected to develop colorectal cancer during her lifetime and 1 in 32 will die from it.

For more information, go to Canadian Cancer Statistics publication.

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