New research predicts a worrying increase in rectal cancer mortality rates in 5 countries over the next 16 years.
Published in the International Journal of Cancer, the study uses data from the World Health Organization mortality database for 1989-2016 to project colon and rectal cancer mortality rates and number of deaths in 42 countries up to the year 2035.
The analysis suggests mortality rates for colon cancer will continue to decrease in the majority of included countries from Asia, Europe, North America and Oceania, except Latin America and Caribbean countries.
Mortality rates from rectal cancer in general followed those of colon cancer, but rates are predicted to increase substantially in Costa Rica (+73.6%), Australia (+59.2%), the United States (+27.8%), Ireland (+24.2%) and Canada (+24.1%).
The study authors described the increase as "worrisome" and said it warrants further investigation. They suggest the trend might “possibly be explained by underlying increases in incidence rates, late diagnosis and limited access to treatment.”
Due to population growth and ageing, the number of deaths is expected to rise in all countries for both colon and rectal cancer, by 60.0 per cent and 71.5 per cent, respectively, until 2035.