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Five-year survival rate for cancer patients improving, report shows

by Tomoko Otake

Staff Writer

The five-year survival rate for people diagnosed with cancer from 2006 till 2008 was 62.1 percent, up 3.5 percentage points from the preceding three years, according to the latest statistics released by the National Cancer Center.

In a report released by the NCC on Friday covering 644,407 cases, the five-year survival rate was 59.1 percent for men, up 3.7 points, and 66 percent for women, up 3.1 points.

The center said the rise in survival rates is primarily due to more people being diagnosed with cancers that typically have longer survival rates, such as prostate and breast cancer.

The NCC added that it needed to analyze the data in more detail before concluding whether improvements in therapy contributed.

Among men, 97.5 percent who were diagnosed with prostate cancer from 2006 to 2008 went on to live for at least five more years, followed by 92.2 percent of skin cancer patients and 89.5 percent of thyroid cancer patients. At the other end of the spectrum were men with lung cancer, gallbladder/bile duct cancer and pancreatic cancer, whose five-year survival rates were 27.0 percent, 23.9 percent and 7.9 percent, respectively.

Among women, those with thyroid cancer, skin cancer and breast cancer had the best rates, at 94.9 percent, 92.5 percent and 91.1 percent, respectively.

Liver cancer, gallbladder/bile duct cancer and pancreatic cancer showed the worst survival rates, at 30.5 percent, 21.1 percent and 7.5 percent, respectively.