The number of people living in rural regions who succumb to cancer is 1.36 times greater than that in cities, a report by a public health agency said Sunday.
The report showed the so-called age standardized death rate for people dying of cancer and other related diseases living in cities fell to 16.88 people per every 100,000 checked in 2011 from 17.97 in 2008. The corresponding figure rose to 23.00 in 2011 from 22.67 in 2008 for rural dwellers over the cited period.
The age standardized mortality rates devised by the World Health Organization is used to compare the mortality rates without data being affected by age distribution differences between groups being checked.
The report is based on a survey on 227 administrative regions in the country, taken by the state-run Korea Institute for Health and Social Affairs (KIHASA).
Besides cancer, people living in rural areas were twice as likely to die from infectious diseases as their counterparts living in large cities.
The latest report said people living in rural areas were also more likely than those living in cities to die from metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular diseases and gastrointestinal disorders.
On the other hand, rural dwellers spent less money compared to their urban counterparts on the national medical insurance program.
"The data showed that people who were more exposed to various diseases actually spent less than those that were less at risk," KIHASA said.
It said that after South Korea adopted a national medical insurance program, strides have been made to provide move coverage to everyone, but there is still inequality since rural areas get less good quality medical attention compared to that in big cities.
"There should be more medical facilities being set up in rural areas so people living in counties and towns can get the attention they deserve to stay healthy longer," the institute said. (Yonhap)