Cancer Res Treat.  2021 Apr;53(2):301-315. 10.4143/crt.2021.291.

Cancer Statistics in Korea: Incidence, Mortality, Survival, and Prevalence in 2018

  • 1Korea Central Cancer Registry, National Cancer Center, Goyang, Korea
  • 2Division of Cancer Registration and Surveillance, National Cancer Control Institute, National Cancer Center, Goyang, Korea
  • 3National Cancer Center Graduate School of Cancer Science and Policy, National Cancer Center, Goyang, Korea
  • 4National Cancer Control Institute, National Cancer Center, Goyang, Korea


The current study provides national cancer statistics and their secular trends in Korea, including incidence, mortality, survival, and prevalence in 2018.
Materials and Methods
Incidence, survival, and prevalence rates of cancer were calculated using the Korea National Cancer Incidence Database, from 1999 to 2018, with survival follow-up until December 31, 2019. Deaths from cancer were assessed using causes-of-death data obtained from Statistics Korea. Crude and age-standardized rates (ASRs) for incidence, mortality, prevalence, and 5-year relative survival rates were calculated, and temporal trends for incidence and mortality rates were evaluated, with annual percentage changes.
In 2018, newly diagnosed cancer cases and deaths from cancer were reported as 243,837 (ASR, 270.4 per 100,000) and 79,153 (ASR, 73.3 per 100,000), respectively. The overall cancer incidence rates increased by 3.3% annually from 1999 to 2012, and decreased by 5.4% annually from 2012 to 2015, thereafter, followed by nonsignificant changes. Cancer mortality rates have been decreasing since 2002, with more rapid decline in recent years (annual decrease of 2.7% from 2007 to 2014; 3.7% from 2014 to 2018). The 5-year relative survival between 2014 and 2018 was 70.3%, which contributed to prevalent cases reaching over 2 million by the end of 2018.
Cancer statistics have improved significantly during the past two decades. However, there remain important challenges to be solved, such as controlling cancers with low survival rates. Cancer statistics can be used to discover blind spots in cancer control, and as evidence for developing and implementing future cancer control strategies.


Neoplasms; Incidence; Mortality; Survival; Prevalence; Korea
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