Colorectal Cancer in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia: Need for Screening


Background and
Objectives: Colorectal cancer (CRC) is a major health problem in the Kingdom of SaudiArabia (KSA). Our aim was to characterize the epidemiology of CRC in the Saudi population. Design andSetting: Retrospective analysis of all cases of CRC recorded in the Saudi Cancer Registry (SCR) between January2001 and December 2006 amongst Saudi citizens in KSA. Patients and
Methods: Data were retrieved from thedatabase of the SCR. Descriptive statistics was performed using SPSS.
Results: A total of 4,201 cases of CRCwere registered in the SCR. The incidence of CRC increased between 2001 and 2006. The mean age of patientsat the time of diagnosis was 58 years; most patients were above 45 years of age (n=3322; 79.1%). At the timeof diagnosis, 977 patients (23.0%) presented with localized disease and 1,018 (24.0%) had distant metastasis.The most frequent pathological variant was adenocarcinoma (73%), with grade 2 (moderately differentiated)being the most common grade among all variants (61%). For all cancer grades, the frequency of CRC wassignificantly higher among patients >45 years (P=0.004), who presented with more advanced disease (stages IIIand IV) (P=0.012). Based on logistic regression, age >45 years was associated with advanced regional presentation(P=0.001). Tumor grade was associated with advanced regional presentation and metastasis.
Conclusion: Therewas an increase in the incidence of CRC between 2001 and 2006. The age at the time of diagnosis was low whencompared with reports from developed countries. A nationwide approach is needed to encourage and illustratethe importance of screening programs.