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Saudi J Gastroenterol. 2008 Oct;14(4):178-82. doi: 10.4103/1319-3767.43275.

Past, present and future of colorectal cancer in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

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Department of Oncology and Hematology, King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Centre, Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.



The crude frequency of colorectal cancer (CRC) is second to breast cancer in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA). To assess the future burden of CRC in the country, we designed a model that takes into consideration the recent lifestyle pattern and the growth and aging of the population.


We compared CRC statistics for KSA (using data from the National Cancer Registry) with that from the Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) databases of the United States of America (USA). We used the Joinpoint regression program to identify changes in secular trends, while the GLOBOCAN 2002 software was used to project future incidence and mortality.


Between 1994 and 2003, age-standardized rates (ASRs) for CRC in KSA almost doubled, as compared to a nonsignificant decline in USA. Between 2001 and 2003, while the annual percent change (APC) of CRC incidence in the USA showed a nonsignificant decrease in females, APC in Saudi females showed a nonsignificant rise of six percent. On the other hand, the rising incidence among Saudi males, during the years 1999 to 2003, was significant, with an APC of 20.5%. The projection model suggested that the incidence of CRC in KSA could increase fourfold in both genders by the year 2030.


In KSA, the present and expected increase in CRC rates is alarming. Pragmatic recommendations to face that challenge are discussed. The present work could serve as a model to study other prevalent types of cancer, particularly in developing countries.


Colorectal cancer; Saudi Arabia; developing country; incidence

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