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News article15 March 2021

Colorectal cancer in the top 3 of the most diagnosed and fatal cancers both in EU men and women

Colorectal cancer in the top 3 of the most diagnosed and fatal cancers both in EU men and women
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Today the JRC publishes a new factsheet containing 2020 figures of colorectal cancer burden for EU-27 countries, to mark colorectal cancer awareness month.

Colorectal cancer is a malignant tumor that forms in the tissues of the colon (the longest part of the large intestine) or of the rectum (the final part of the digestive tract).

Cancer estimates show that colorectal cancer in 2020 accounted for

  • 12.7% of all new cancer diagnoses
  • 12.4% of all deaths due to cancer.

The disease affects men more than women, both in terms of incidence and mortality.

It is the third most diagnosed cancer in men (after prostate and lung cancers) and the second one in women (after breast cancer). In 2020, 191,053 men and 150,366 women were estimated to be diagnosed with colorectal cancer.

Regarding mortality, this cancer is the second cause of cancer death in men (after lung cancer), with 87,185 attributable deaths. It is the third one in women (after breast and lung cancers), with 68,920 women who lost their lives.

The overall colorectal cancer trends are increasing for incidence and decreasing for mortality. There is however considerable variability among EU-27 countries and regions.

Are you a specialist in this field? Join our working group!

To address this variability and ensure all people in the EU can have equal access to same high level of care, the Joint Research Centre (JRC) is launching the European Commission Initiative on Colorectal Cancer (ECICC). It aims at developing evidence-based guidelines for prevention, screening and diagnosis of colorectal cancer, together with a quality assurance scheme covering the entire care pathway.

To achieve these two objectives, the JRC will set up the ECICC working group, in collaboration with the Directorate General for Health and Food Safety (DG SANTE).

The JRC is hereby calling for clinical, scientific and technical experts in areas related to the initiative as well as patients and/or caregivers to be appointed as members of the ECICC working group.

All members of the ECICC working group will be appointed in their personal capacities acting independently and in the public interest, not representing any private, commercial or national interests.

A group representing organisations or entities with particular interest in the activities of ECICC will also be formed after the establishment of the ECICC working group. The JRC will seek feedback of this stakeholder representatives group when and as needed.

Join our ECICC group and our efforts for better colorectal cancer care across the EU by applying here.

Deadline (extended!): 16 May

Related Content

European Cancer Information System (ECIS)

Colorectal cancer factsheet

Call for expression of interest for the working group on colorectal cancer


Publication date
15 March 2021