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The Rise of Colorectal Cancer in Asia: Epidemiology, Screening, and Management

  • Onyoh, Elias F.
  • Hsu, Wen-Feng
  • Chang, Li-Chun
  • Lee, Yi-Chia
  • Wu, Ming-Shiang
  • Chiu, Han-Mo
Published Article
Current Gastroenterology Reports
Springer US
Publication Date
Jul 10, 2019
DOI: 10.1007/s11894-019-0703-8
Springer Nature


Purpose of ReviewColorectal cancer (CRC) remains the third most commonly diagnosed cancer globally, and its incidence and mortality rates have been on the rise in Asia. In this paper, we summarize the recent trends and screening challenges of CRC in this region.Recent FindingsIn 2018, Asia had the highest proportions of both incident (51.8%) and mortality (52.4%) CRC cases (all genders and ages) per 100,000 population in the world. In addition, there has been a rising trend of this disease across Asia with some regional geographic variations. This rise in CRC can be attributed to westernized dietary lifestyle, increasing population aging, smoking, physical inactivity, and other risk factors. In curbing the rising trend, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, and Taiwan have launched nationwide population-based screening programs. CRC screening across this region has been found to be effective and cost-effective compared with no screening at all. The emergence of new therapies has caused a reduction in case fatality; however, these new options have had a limited impact on cure rates and long-term survival due to the great disparity in treatment capacity/resources and screening infrastructures among Asian countries with different degrees of economic development.SummaryCRC is still rising in Asia, and implementation of screening is necessary for moderate- to high-incidence countries and construction of treatment capacity is the priority task in low-incidence and low-income countries. Unless countries in Asia implement CRC screening, the incidence and mortality rates of this disease will continue to rise especially with the rapidly rising population growth, economic development, westernized lifestyle, and increasing aging.

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