A diagnosis of cancer comes as a crushing blow not only to patients themselves but their families, too. Those around them have to tread lightly and watch their words on diet and therapy, for example. For those affected, it can feel as if the world they knew has shattered around them.

Every other Japanese person will experience life as a cancer patient at some point, according to Hitoshi Nakagama, president of the National Cancer Center Japan. Nearly 1 million people are newly diagnosed each year, and as Japan continues to age, the country can expect the proportion of the population affected by cancer to grow further.

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