Colorectal cancer accounted for 14 per cent of all cancer diagnoses in men and 12 per cent in women in England, in 2008. This makes it the third most common cancer and the third most common cause of cancer death in both men and women.
In 2008, there were around 18,000 new cases of colorectal cancer diagnosed in men and 14,600 in women. This is equivalent to an incidence rate of 57 new cases per 100,000 men and 37 per 100,000 women.
More than four out of every five new cases of colorectal cancer are diagnosed in people aged 60 and over, with cases peaking in the 70-79 age group in men and in the 85+ age group in women.
Incidence rates for colorectal cancer increased by 33 per cent for men and 12 per cent for women between 1971 and 2008. Rates peaked at 57 cases per 100,000 in men during the period 1998 to 2000 and more recently in 2008. For women, rates were highest in 1992 at 38 cases per 100,000 women.
Around 7,000 men and 6,000 women died from colorectal cancer in England in 2009, a rate of 21 deaths per 100,000 men and 13 per 100,000 women. Mortality rates for colorectal cancer have halved for women between 1971 and 2009 and have decreased by 38 per cent for men.
Survival from cancer of the colon and rectum are calculated separately and have both doubled in 40 years. For colon cancer, five-year survival was 51 per cent for men and 53 per cent for women diagnosed in 2003-2007 and followed up to 2008. Five-year survival for those diagnosed in 1971-1975 and followed up to 1995 was 26 per cent for men and 25 per cent for women.
For cancer of the rectum, five-year survival was 53 per cent for men and 56 per cent for women diagnosed in 2003-2007 and followed up to 2008. Five-year survival for those diagnosed in 1971-1975 and followed up to 1995 was 27 per cent for men and 29 per cent for women.
Source: Office for National Statistics
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