Over 1 Million Patients Now Survive Cancer

The number of cancer survivors surpassed one million for the first time last year. Half of them were over 60, and 9.4 percent of population over 65 have been diagnosed with or are being treated for cancer.

Cancer is most prevalent among people in their 50s and 60s, and there the number of survivors increased most noticeably.

According to the statistics from the National Health Insurance Corporation, the number of patients who are cancer-free after treatment or who are currently being treated was 1.13 million last year. It was the first time that the figure exceeded 1 million.

As of September this year, the number went up to 1.3 million.

The figures are attributed to early cancer diagnosis and improving medical technology. According to statistics from the National Cancer Center last year, the five-year survival rate for thyroid cancer is now 99.8 percent, for breast cancer 90.6 percent, for colorectal cancer 71.3 percent, and for stomach cancer 65.3 percent.

The average five-year survival rate for cancer overall is 62 percent, meaning six out of 10 cancer patients overcome the disease and lead a normal life. The five-year survival rate is a baseline to determine whether patients have been fully cured.

Thyroid cancer patients made up the largest number of survivors with 227,315. Over 40,000 people are newly diagnosed with thyroid cancer every year due to early diagnoses using ultrasound, but only 300 die. The number of survivors of stomach cancer was 170,000, of colorectal cancer 140,000, of breast cancer 120,000, and of liver cancer 40,000.

englishnews@chosun.com / Oct. 12, 2012 13:08 KST