Posted December. 29, 2010 11:11,
The five-year survival rate of male cancer patients has surpassed 50 percent for the first time, the Health and Welfare Ministry said Tuesday.
If a cancer patient survives the first five years, he or she is considered fully recovered from the disease in medical terms.
According to the ministry report "2010 National Cancer Statistics, the survival rate of male cancer patients between 2004 and 2008 was 50.8 percent, up from 44.9 percent between 2001 and 2005.
That of female cancer patients was 69.2 percent between 2004 and 2008, up from 52.4 percent from 1993 through 1995, when the data was first complied. This means that if stricken by cancer, half of male patients survive while 70 percent of female patients do.
Men are more likely to develop cancer than women since the former are more exposed to cancer-causing factors such as smoking and drinking. The difference in survival rates between both sets of patients occur because lung and liver cancer, which affect men more than women, is difficult to detect early and makes early treatment difficult.
In Korea, the survival rate of male cancer patients is especially low. In 2007, the average mortality rate of men from cancer in member countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development was 212 per 100,000 people, while that of women was 126.
The figure for Korean men was 242 per 100,000 people while that for Korean women was 95.
The five-year survival rate for all cancer patients has steadily grown from 44 percent between 1996 and 2000 to 53.4 percent between 2001 and 2005 and 59.5 percent between 2004 and 2008.
Last year, 724,663 Koreans were either living with cancer or overcame the disease.