November 30, 2015 08:19
The mortality rate of prostate and pancreatic cancers have risen sharply over the past three decades, while deaths from gastric cancer have declined some 70 percent.
A research team led by Lim Dal-oh, a health administration professor at Kongju National University, analyzed the death rates of 13 different types of cancers from 1983 to 2012 in Korea.
According to the researchers, lung, liver and gastric cancers still have high death rates, but the biggest rise was seen in prostate cancer among men and pancreatic cancer among women.
In 1983, gastric cancer ranked first in terms of death rates among men with 83.5 per 100,000, followed by liver cancer with 48.6 and lung cancer with 18.4. In 2012, lung cancer topped the list with 44.4, while liver cancer came second with 34.0 and gastric cancer third with 22.4.
As for women, gastirc cancer was deadliest killing 45.3 per 100,000 in 1983, followed by liver cancer (15.1) and uterine cancer (12.4). In 2012, lung cancer had the highest mortality rate with 16.5, followed by colorectal cancer (12.9) and liver cancer (12.6).
But prostate cancer had the largest increase of 10.5 times from 0.5 in 1983 to 5.2 in 2012 for men. Among women, the number of deaths from pancreatic cancer quadrupled over the same period.
The number of prostate cancer cases also increased by at least 10 percent each year, the highest among the 13 types of cancers studied. It used to be rare in the 1980s, but now it is fifth most common cancer among Korean men.
Prostate cancer advances relatively slowly, and the five-year survival rate is as high as 92 percent.
Chung Jin-soo at National Cancer Center explained that longer life expectancy and westernized eating habits including red and fatty meats have led to the increasing number of prostate cancer cases.
On the other hand, it is difficult to diagnose pancreatic cancer and symptoms start to show late, resulting in a high mortality rate.
"The pancreas is located behind the stomach, so it is hard to detect even with an ultrasound scan," Song Si-young at Severance Hospital said.
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