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Acta Oncol. 2016;55 Suppl 1:29-39. doi: 10.3109/0284186X.2015.1114674. Epub 2016 Jan 14.

Trends in colorectal cancer in the elderly in Denmark, 1980-2012.

Author information

a Department of Oncology , Odense University Hospital, Institute of Clinical Research, University of Southern Denmark , Denmark ;
b Health Services , University of Southern Denmark , Odense , Denmark ;
c Department of Surgery , Odense University Hospital , Svendborg , Denmark.



Colorectal cancer (CRC) is a disease of the older population. The current demographic ageing leads to more elderly patients and is expected to further increase the number of patients with CRC. The objective of the present paper is to outline incidence, mortality and prevalence from 1980 to 2012 and survival data from 1968 to 2012 in Danish CRC patients focusing on the impact of ageing.


Data were derived from the NORDCAN database with comparable data on cancer incidence, mortality, prevalence and relative survival in the Nordic countries, where the Danish data are delivered from the Danish Cancer Registry and the Danish Cause of Death Registry with follow-up for death or emigration until the end of 2013. This study focuses on the elderly population categorized in six age groups.


The incidence of CRC has increased over the past three decades. Incidence rate has increased in patients with colon cancer, but showed a decreasing trend in the oldest patients with rectal and anal cancer. Mortality has diminished in younger patients with colon cancer, but increased with increasing age. However, mortality did not increase proportionally to incidence. In rectal and anal cancer mortality has decreased, except among the oldest patients. This correlates to a decreasing incidence rate. Prevalence is widely increasing mainly because of increased incidence and longer survival, which is reflected in the increasing one- and five-year age-specific relative survival after a diagnosis of colon, rectal and anal cancer.


The incidence of CRC is increasing, especially in older citizens, and mortality increases with older age. There is limited knowledge on how to optimize treatment in older CRC patients and future focus must be how to select and tailor the treatment for older CRC patients.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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