Cancer patient survival rate reaches nearly 70 percent in S. Korea

December 22, 2015
(Korea Times graphic)

(Korea Times graphic)

(Yonhap) — The survival rate of cancer patients reached 69.4 percent in 2013, with the total number of people being treated dipping slightly from the year before, government data showed Tuesday.

The Ministry of Health and Welfare report showed that from 2009 to 2013, two out of three people diagnosed with cancer lived more than five years, up 15.6 percentage points from 53.8 percent tallied for the 2001-2005 period.

The survival rate for stomach cancer reached 73.1 percent, with numbers for colorectal and prostate cancer reaching 75.6 percent and 92.5 percent, respectively. Numbers for malignant lymphoma were also relatively high at 68.4 percent.

The findings, however, showed the survival rate for liver and lung cancer stood at 31.4 percent and 23.5 percent, respectively, although both were up compared to the past.

The ministry said that from 1999 to Jan. 1, 2014, a total of 1.4 million South Koreans were treated or cured of cancer. This translates into one in every 37 people having been diagnosed with the potentially fatal disease.

These numbers rose to one in every 11 for those over 65.

The latest report showed that in 2013, 225,343 people were newly diagnosed with cancer, down 873 from the year before, but a 79.3 percent surge compared to 2003.

Among newly diagnosed cancers reported in the one-year period, thyroid cancer ranked No. 1 followed by stomach and colorectal cancers. Lung and breast cancers rounded out the top five list.

The age-standardized incidence rate of cancer for 2013 reached 311.6 people for every 100,000, down 10.7 people from the year before.

The ministry attributed the rate drop to advanced medical screening processes that can pick up tumors before they become too serious, and the drop in the number of smokers. Greater efforts by people to live healthier lives may also be a factor for the decrease, it said.

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