Portugal is the oldest continuously existing nation state of the Iberian Peninsula and one of the oldest in Europe. Data from the 2021 National Census shows that we have a population of 10.344 million, and according to “WHO ranking of health systems report” in 2000, Portugal ranked 12th in the best public health performing systems in the world, ahead of many other developed countries like the United Kingdom, Germany or even Sweden.

Since the late seventies Portugal has had a National Health Service - Serviço Nacional de Saúde (SNS)that provides universal social coverage, funded by general taxation. However, it is also permanently accused by politicians and consultants to be a big spender of public resources. Many private healthcare groups have been investing heavily on Hospitals and Day Clinics, becoming a large complementary offer in the national clinical care network.

Despite a recent attempt to promote dedicated specialized Units for Rectal Cancer treatment, hospital and government organization has not been able to audit and report quality of care in these referral Units. Thus, most Portuguese public hospitals are general surgery based and do not have autonomous colorectal units. 

WHO - Global Cancer Observatory (GLOBOCAN 2020) has reported that Colorectal Cancer in Portugal had the highest incidence of all cancer sites, being responsible for 10.501 new cases/year and the 2nd leading cause for oncologic mortality, originating 4.320 deaths/year (crude and age-standardized rates per 100 000 population).

The available data raises concerns and calls for action, especially in organizing dedicated Colorectal Cancer Centers and training specialized surgeons to tackle this challenge.


There are two main scientific societies for colorectal disease:


SPCP (Sociedade Portuguesa de Coloproctologia) that joins both surgeons and gastroenterologists, that has traditionally its national Congress in November



SPCir (Sociedade Portuguesa de Cirurgia) for surgeons only, that has a section (Capítulo) for colorectal surgery that has its national Congress in March.

Both societies have internet sites linked to ESCP and journals.


There is a National Oncologic Registry (RON) https://ron.min-saude.pt/pt/ , with a dedicated Colorectal Cancer area, that is centralized and managed by the public health service.

Population: 10 344 802

ESCP Members: 39

Society: Sociedade Portuguesa de Coloproctologia   http://www.spcoloprocto.org

ESCP Representative Name: Nuno Figueiredo

National Examination: General Surgery

Journal: Revista Portuguesa de Coloproctologia http://www.spcoloprocto.org/index.php?n=revista-portuguesa-de-coloproctologia&cod=47 

ESCP Affiliates