Cancer Statistics in Korea: Incidence, Mortality, Survival, and Prevalence in 2017

Cancer Res Treat. 2020 Apr;52(2):335-350. doi: 10.4143/crt.2020.206. Epub 2020 Mar 16.


Purpose: This study reports the cancer statistics and temporal trends in Korea on a nationwide scale, including incidence, survival, prevalence, and mortality in 2017.

Materials and methods: The incidence, survival, and prevalence rates of cancer were evaluated using data from the Korea National Cancer Incidence Database from 1999 to 2017 with follow-up until December 31, 2018. Deaths from cancer were assessed using cause-of-death data from 1983 to 2017, obtained from Statistics Korea. Crude and age-standardized rates (ASRs) for incidence, mortality, and prevalence, and 5-year relative survival rates were calculated and trend analysis was performed.

Results: In 2017, newly diagnosed cancer cases and deaths from cancer numbered 232,255 (ASR, 264.4 per 100,000) and 78,863 (ASR, 76.6 per 100,000), respectively. The overall cancer incidence rates increased annually by 3.5% from 1999 to 2011 and decreased by 2.7% annually thereafter. Cancer mortality rates have been decreasing since 2002, by 2.8% annually. The 5-year relative survival rate for all patients diagnosed with cancer between 2013 and 2017 was 70.4%, which contributed to a prevalence of approximately 1.87 million cases by the end of 2017.

Conclusion: The burden of cancer measured by incidence and mortality rates have improved in Korea, with the exception of a few particular cancers that are associated with increasing incidence or mortality rates. However, cancer prevalence is increasing rapidly, with the dramatic improvement in survival during the past several years. Comprehensive cancer control strategies and efforts should continue, based on the changes of cancer statistics.

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

Publication types

  • Historical Article

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • History, 21st Century
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Neoplasms / mortality
  • Prevalence
  • Republic of Korea / epidemiology
  • Survival Rate
  • Young Adult