Cancer has been the leading cause of death in Korea. Korea is facing a very rapid change and increase in cancer incidence, which draws much attention in public health. This paper overviews the nationwide cancer statistics, including incidence, mortality, and survival rates, and their trends in Korea based on the cancer incidence data from The Korea Central Cancer Registry (KCCR) in year 2006 and 2007. In Korea, there were 153,237 cancer cases and 65,519, cancer deaths observed in 2006, and 161,920 cancer cases and 67,561 cancer deaths in 2007, respectively. The incidence rate for all cancer combined showed an annual increase of 2.8% from 1999 to 2007. Specifically, there was significant increase in the incidence of colorectal, thyroid, female breast, and prostate cancers. The number of cancer deaths has increased over the past two decades, due mostly to population aging, while the age-standardized mortality rates have decreased in both men and women since 2002. Notable improvement has been observed in the 5-yr relative survival rates for most major cancers and for all cancer combined, with the exception of pancreatic cancer. The nationwide cancer statistics in this paper will provide essential data for cancer research and evidence-based health policy in Korea.
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