The South Korean government said Friday it will come up with a comprehensive package of anti-cancer measures by year-end to raise public awareness and help prevent and treat the disease.
“(The Health and Welfare Ministry) will improve the national cancer checkup program, expand clinical research and create a big data platform for cancer study,” Health and Welfare Minister Moon Hyung-pyo said in a ceremony marking the 7th National Cancer Prevention Day.
The measures will cover several steps, from preventing the disease to managing terminal cancer, he added.
Moon also stressed the importance of having a healthy diet and exercising regularly while urging the public to refrain from drinking and smoking.
According to statistics released by the ministry and National Cancer Center, about 1.1 million Koreans suffered from cancer as of January 2012, with over half of them women.
The number only includes those who were diagnosed with cancer between 1999 and 2011, yet survived until January 2012. The ministry has recorded cancer statistics since 1999.
The numbers suggest that one out of 45 Koreans received cancer treatment or overcame the disease.
For those over the age of 65, one of 13 experienced cancer at least once.
The odds of having cancer during one’s lifetime were projected to be 36.9 percent, considering Korea’s average life expectancy of 81 years, the ministry’s report said.
Thyroid cancer was the most common type among Koreans, followed by gastric cancer, colorectal cancer, breast cancer, lung cancer and liver cancer.
The rate of those who survived for five years following diagnosis was 66.3 percent from 2007 to 2011, up 12.5 percent from the previous five-year period.
By Lee Hyun-jeong (firstname.lastname@example.org)