Cancer statistics in Korea: incidence, mortality, survival and prevalence in 2010

Cancer Res Treat. 2013 Mar;45(1):1-14. doi: 10.4143/crt.2013.45.1.1. Epub 2013 Mar 31.


Purpose: This article gives an overview of nationwide cancer statistics, including incidence, mortality, survival and prevalence, and their trends in Korea based on 2010 cancer incidence data.

Materials and methods: Incidence data from 1993 to 2010 were obtained from the Korea National Cancer Incidence Database, and vital status was followed until 31 December 2011. Mortality data from 1983 to 2010 were obtained from Statistics Korea. Crude and age-standardized rates for incidence, mortality, prevalence, and relative survival were calculated.

Results: In total, 202,053 cancer cases and 72,046 cancer deaths occurred during 2010, and 960,654 prevalent cancer cases were identified in Korea as of 1 January 2011. The incidence of all cancers combined showed an annual increase of 3.3% from 1999 to 2010. The incidences of liver and cervical cancers have decreased while those of thyroid, breast, prostate and colorectal cancers have increased. Notably, thyroid cancer, which is the most common cancer in Korea, increased by 24.2% per year rapidly in both sexes. The mortality of all cancers combined showed a decrease by 2.7% annually from 2002 to 2010. Five-year relative survival rates of patients who were diagnosed with cancer from 2006 to 2011 had improved by 22.9% compared with those from 1993 to 1995.

Conclusion: While the overall cancer incidence in Korea has increased rapidly, age-standardized cancer mortality rates have declined since 2002 and survival has improved.

Keywords: Incidence; Korea; Mortality; Neoplasms; Prevalence; Survival.