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Introductionthe burden of colorectal carcinoma (CRC), once considered rare in Africa, may be changing with the disease being increasingly diagnosed and there is a suggestion that age and race influence tumour behaviour. We sought to describe the clinicopathological spectrum of CRC among the different race and age groups in a South African setting.Methodsanalysis of prospectively collected data from an on-going colorectal cancer database, including demographics, clinical presentation, site, staging and grading on all patients enrolled over an 18-year period.Resultsa total of 2232 patients with CRC were accrued over the study period (Africans, 798; Indians, 890; Coloureds, 104; and Whites, 440). Mean age was 57.7 (SD 14.4) but varied considerably by race (p < 0.001) with Africans being significantly younger. Young adults (aged < 40 years) totalled 305 and older patients (aged > 40 years) totalled 1927. The proportion of young patients (< 40 years old) was 28%, 7%, 9% and 3% among Africans, Indian, Coloured and White patients respectively. There were minimal variations in anatomical sub-site distribution. There was no difference in tumour stage between the various races and between older and young adults. Mucinous differentiation was more common in Africans and in young patients and poor differentiation was more common in African patients. Africans had a significantly lower resection rate compared to the other race groups (p < 0.001). Younger patients had a significantly lower resection rate compared to the older age group (p < 0.001).ConclusionAfrican patients were the youngest compared to the other race groups. Mucinous differentiation predominated in Africans and young adults. Poor differentiation predominated in Africans. Resection rate was lower for African patients and in young patients.

Original publication





The Pan African medical journal

Publication Date





Gastrointestinal Cancer Research Group, Department of Surgery, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa.


Humans, Colorectal Neoplasms, Neoplasm Staging, Prospective Studies, Age Factors, Adolescent, Adult, Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Middle Aged, South Africa, Female, Male, Young Adult, White People, Black People