Korea's cancer patients reach 1 million, survival rate improves

Cho Chung-un in Seoul/The Korea Herald
Asia News Network

Seoul (The Korea Herald/ANN) - The number of cancer patients in Korea reached 1 million last year while their survival rates rose from a decade ago, a report showed on Thursday.

According to a joint survey by the Ministry of Health and Welfare and the National Cancer Center, Korea had a total of 960,654 patients and survivors - diagnosed with cancer between 1999 and 2010 - last year.

About 200,000 new cancer cases were found in 2010 alone, up 4 percent from a year earlier, the report add.

The statistics showed that both five-year and 10-year survival rates for cancer patients are on the rise.

The percentage of patients alive five years after their disease was diagnosed between 2006 and 2010 was 64.1 percent last year, a 10.4 percentage point higher than that of people learned to have the disease between 2000 and 2005. The 10-year survival rate of patients diagnosed between 2001 and 2005 was 49.4 percent , 8.8 percentage points up from 40.6 percent of patients told they have cancers between 1996 and 2000.

The number of patients diagnosed with cancer in the year 2010 doubled to 202,000 from 101,000 registered in 2000.

Thyroid cancer was the most common type of cancer in Korea with 17.8 percent, followed by gastric and colon cancer with 14.9 percent and 12.8 percent, respectively. One tenth of patients were found to have suffered from lung cancer while 7.9 percent of patients had liver cancer.

The study also revealed that stomach cancer was the most common cancer found in men with 19.6 percent, while thyroid cancer was most frequently found in women patients, with 30.1 percent.

More than one third of Koreans, who have a life expectancy of 81, will suffer from cancer at some point in their lives, the report suggested.

The prevalence rate in the population per 100,000 persons was 282 in Korea, lower than the United States with 300 and Canada with 296, but higher than the OECD average of 256, it added.