Colorectal cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed form of cancer worldwide, after lung and breast cancer, with approximately one million new cases diagnosed per year (Parkin et al., 2005). There are several factors that place certain individuals
at increased risk for the disease, including age, the presence of polyps, ulcerative colitis, a diet high in fat, and genetic background. The disease is more common in the United States and Europe, and is rare in Asia. In Asian countries where
people are gradually adopting western diets, such as Japan, the incidence of colorectal cancer is increasing (IARC, 2011). It is estimated that approximately 610 000 people worldwide died due to colorectal cancer in 2008 (WHO, 2011d).
Total spending on the treatment of colorectal cancer in the United States is estimated to reach USD 14 billion per year (Mariotto et al., 2011). Two indicators are presented to reflect variation in outcomes for patients with colorectal cancer across OECD countries:
five‐year relative survival rates and mortality rates.