Colorectal cancer

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Colorectal cancer statistics

Colorectal cancer is expected to be the third most commonly diagnosed cancer in Canada in 2020 (excluding non-melanoma skin cancers). It is the second leading cause of death from cancer in men and the third 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 2020:

  • 26,900 Canadians will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer. This represents 12% of all new cancer cases in 2020.
  • 9,700 Canadians will die from colorectal cancer. This represents 12% of all cancer deaths in 2020.
  • 14,900 men will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer and 5,300 will die from it.
  • 12,000 women will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer and 4,400 will die from it.
  • On average, 73 Canadians will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer every day.
  • On average, 27 Canadians will die from colorectal cancer every day.

Estimated Canadian colorectal cancer statistics (2020)
CategoryMalesFemales

New cases

14,900

12,000

Deaths

5,300

4,400

5-year net survival (estimates for 2012 to 2014)

65%

65%

Pie chart shows colorectal cancer is 15 percent of all cancer cases in men and women based on 2020 cancer cases estimates

PPie chart shows colorectal cancer deaths are 12 percent of all cancer deaths in men and women based on 2020 cancer death estimates

Trends in colorectal cancer

Colorectal cancer incidence rates are declining in males and females. The recent declines are likely due in part to increased use of colorectal cancer screening which can identify and remove precancerous polyps, which can in turn reduce incidence.

Death rates have also been declining. Most of this decline is likely driven by decreased incidence, as well as by improved diagnosis and treatment.

Chances (probability) of developing or dying from colorectal cancer

It is estimated that about 1 in 14 Canadian men will develop colorectal cancer during their lifetime and 1 in 32 will die from it.

It is estimated that about 1 in 18 Canadian women will develop colorectal cancer during their lifetime and 1 in 37 will die from it.

For more information, go to Canadian Cancer Statistics.

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