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Br Med Bull. 2002;64:1-25.

Epidemiology of colorectal cancer.

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  • 1Division of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, European Institute of Oncology, via Ripamonti 435, 20141 Milan, Italy.


Colorectal cancer is a important public health problem: there are nearly one million new cases of colorectal cancer diagnosed world-wide each year and half a million deaths. Recent reports show that, in the US, it was the most frequent form of cancer among persons aged 75 years and older. Given that the majority of cancers occur in elder people and with the ageing of the population in mind, this observation gives further impetus to investigating prevention and treatment strategies among this subgroup of the population. Screening research, recommendations and implementation is an obvious priority. While there are many questions to be resolved, it is apparent that many facets of colorectal cancer are becoming increasingly understood and prospects for prevention are becoming apparent. Achieving colorectal cancer control is the immediate challenge.

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