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Jpn J Clin Oncol. 2002 Mar;32 Suppl:S32-6.

Cancer in Korea: present features.

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  • 1Department of Preventive Medicine, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.


In 1995, more than 50 000 persons died in Korea due to cancers and around 230 000 cancer patients were under medical treatment. Cancer patients accounted for 8.3% of all inpatients. The medical care expenditure for cancer patients accounted for 15-18% of all expenditure for inpatients. The age standardized annual incidence rate of all cancers in the period 1992-95 was 290.8 per 100 000 in males and 173.4 in females. The cumulative rates for the age span 0-74 years were 35.8% in males and 20% in females. Four cancer sites, stomach, liver, lung and colorectum, comprise two-thirds of all new cancers in males. For females, the major sites include uterine cervix and breast in addition to the above four sites. The age adjusted cancer death rate in 1995 was 179.0 in males and 73.5 in females, which accounted for 24.1 and 17.7% of all deaths in males and females, respectively. Some changing patterns of major cancers were observed, especially in the older age group. Early detection programs for specific cancer sites such as stomach, liver, colorectum, breast and uterine cervix have been adopted and conducted since 1992 by several medical insurance companies. However, it was not until 1995 that the Korean government considered a national cancer control program. In 1995, the 'Ten Year Plan for Cancer Control, Korea' was formulated and the government adopted the plan as a national policy in 1996. The economic crisis in Korea in 1997, however, hindered carrying out the plan.

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