Cancer Survival Rate Stays Above 70%

  • By Kim Chul-joong

    December 22, 2017 12:02

    Seven out of 10 Koreans who have cancer survive the disease, according to a report by the National Cancer Center on Thursday.

    The report said 70.7 percent of patients diagnosed with cancer between 2011 and 2015 survived for five more years. That was a 16.7 percentage-point improvement compared to patients diagnosed a decade earlier.

    If cancer cells disappear and do not reappear for five years, a patient is regarded as recovered. The cancer survival rate reached the 70-percent range for the first time in Korea from 2010 to 2014 (70.3 percent).

    The survival rate for thyroid, breast and prostate cancer is more than 90 percent because the first two spread slowly and breast cancer is being detected early due to regular checkups.

    But it is low for pancreatic cancer (10.8 percent), lung cancer (10.8 percent) and liver cancer (33.6 percent). Pancreatic and lung cancer are difficult to detect early, while liver cancer develops in patients with hepatitis types B or C and recurs frequently.

    Female cancer patients had a 78.4 percent chance of survival, compared to males' 62.8 percent, because thyroid and breast cancer, which have high survival rates, occur far more among women.

    Compared to 1993 and 1995, the survival rate for prostate cancer has risen 38.2 percentage points, for stomach cancer 32.6 points, for liver cancer 22.9 points and for colon cancer 21.5 points.

    Kim Yeul-hong, head of the Korean Cancer Association, said, "A growing rate of early detection through national programs, sophisticated treatments and technologies and many other factors have come together to achieve these results. The survival rate will increase further if early detection increases." 

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