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Colorectal Cancer: Facts & Figures

Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the third most common form of cancer worldwide, and the 4th most common cancer in UK. In the UK alone, there are 42,3000 new colorectal cancer cases per year, accounting for 11% of all new cancer cases and is the second-largest cause of Mortality in UK, with 20.957 deaths per year [1, 2] . However, over half of bowel cancer cases are still being diagnosed at a late stage so that only 10% of colorectal cancer patients have a survival rate over 5 years. While CRC is typically known to be more common in the over 50s, recent research found a dramatic increase (7.4%) in the incidence of CRC in younger adult groups aged between 20 and 39 years [2] . The diagnosis of CRC in younger adults especially, has been associated with delays and poorer outcomes, with 60% being diagnosed at later stages of the disease and 34% diagnosed in emergency care, which in turn leads to lower chances of survival [2, 3] . It is therefore crucial to diagnose and treat CRC at earlier stages to increase the chances of patient cure and survival prognosis. Timely diagnosis is particularly challenging due to the slow development of CRC, extending over many years as well as often being accompanied with nonspecific or no symptoms. Additionally, a lack of highly specific non-invasive diagnostic tests and/or financial resources to mass-screen individuals with a colonoscopy becomes a further hurdle to earlier diagnosis. Research therefore highlights the need for more advanced preventative diagnostics to allow for the earlier detection and diagnosis, and thus better prognosis of CRC.

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