An estimated 1,013,600 people in Japan will be diagnosed with cancer this year, down 400 from last year, the National Cancer Center said Saturday.

The center said the estimated number of patients topped 1 million in 2016 amid the aging of the population and has remained high but not increased significantly.

This year’s slight decrease is partly due to a decline in stomach cancer as helicobacter pylori infection rates fall among the younger generations and as fewer men smoke.

For women, the cancer rate is increasing, but at a slower pace.

The estimated number of new male patients is 574,800, and female patients were put at 438,700.

The center estimates the number of patients with colon cancer at 152,100, stomach cancer at 128,700, lung caner at 125,100 and female breast cancer at 86,500.

“It is necessary to lower smoking rates further,” said Fumihiko Wakao, director at the national institute’s Center for Cancer Control and Information Services. “We have to enhance the accuracy of medical examinations and participation rates.”

The center also said the number of diagnoses came to 867,408 in 2014.

The center used to release only an estimated nationwide number of patients, based on data from prefectures whose statistical methods were considered accurate. As the accuracy of such methods has improved nationwide, the center released the actual figure for the first time.

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