Cancer on the Retreat

  • By Kim Sung-mo

    December 21, 2016 12:57

    Cancer cases have dropped for the third year running and the five-year cancer survival rate has surpassed 70 percent for the first time.

    According to the Ministry of Health and Welfare on Tuesday, cancer incidence stood at 289.1 in a population of 100,000 in 2014, down three years in a row after peaking at 324.9 in 2011. It is the first time that the figure has decreased to below 300 since 2009.

    But the decrease is largely due to a significant drop in the number of thyroid cancer patients after years of massive overdiagnosis.

    Some 30,806 people were diagnosed with thyroid cancer, down 28.1 percent from a year earlier. Colon cancer cases also dropped 3.2 percent after increasing at the fastest rate in the world at one stage. As around 2 million people have colonoscopies every year, colon polyps are found early and removed before they become cancerous.

    The cancer survival rate stood at 70.3 percent between 2010 and 2014. Compared to the period between 2001 and 2005, the survival rate improved in almost all cancers -- prostate cancer (from 80.3 percent to 93.3 percent), breast cancer (from 88.5 percent to 92 percent), colon cancer (66.6 percent to 76.3 percent), and stomach cancer (from 57.7 percent to 74.4 percent).

    Lee Kang-hyun at the National Cancer Center said, "This is mainly due to significant advancement in treatment and early diagnosis."

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