An updated report on the trends in cancer incidence and mortality in Japan, 1958-2013

Jpn J Clin Oncol. 2015 Apr;45(4):390-401. doi: 10.1093/jjco/hyv002. Epub 2015 Jan 30.


The analysis of cancer trends in Japan requires periodic updating. Herein, we present a comprehensive report on the trends in cancer incidence and mortality in Japan using recent population-based data. National cancer mortality data between 1958 and 2013 were obtained from published vital statistics. Cancer incidence data between 1985 and 2010 were obtained from high-quality population-based cancer registries of three prefectures (Yamagata, Fukui and Nagasaki). Joinpoint regression analysis was performed to examine the trends in age-standardized rates of cancer incidence and mortality. All-cancer mortality decreased from the mid-1990s, with an annual percent change of -1.3% (95% confidence interval [CI]: -1.4, -1.3). During the most recent 10 years, over 60% of the decrease in cancer mortality was accounted for by a decrease in stomach and liver cancers (63% for males and 66% for females). The long-term increase in female breast cancer mortality, beginning in the 1960s, plateaued in 2008. All-cancer incidence continuously increased, with annual percent changes of 0.6% (95% CI: 0.5, 0.8) between 1985 and 2005, and 1.8% (95% CI: 0.6, 2.9) between 2005 and 2010. During the most recent 10 years, almost half of the increase in cancer incidence was accounted for by an increase in prostate cancer (60%) in males and breast cancer (46%) in females. The cancer registry quality indices also began to increase from ∼2005. Decreases in stomach and liver cancers observed for incidence and mortality reflect the reduced attribution of infection-related factors (i.e. Helicobacter pylori and hepatitis virus). However, it should be noted that cervical cancer incidence and mortality rates began to increase from ∼1990.

Keywords: cancer; incidence; mortality; neoplasms; population surveillance.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Asian People / statistics & numerical data*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Infant
  • Japan / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mortality / trends
  • Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Population Groups
  • Registries / statistics & numerical data
  • Regression Analysis
  • Risk Factors
  • Young Adult