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Japan’s Average 10-Year Cancer Survival Rate is 58.2%, Study Shows

Update Date: Jan 26, 2016 10:40 AM EST

Since 1981, cancer has been cited as the number one killer in Japan. It was responsible for the 29% of the 1.27 million deaths according to 2014 cancer mortality rate data.

In order to minimize the number of deaths due to cancer, the health ministry commissioned a 10-year cancer survival rate study which yielded both good and bad news. A 2007 law mandated health authorities to establish a special council tasked with the burden of bringing cancer deaths down within a 10-year target according to Japan Times.

 The survey revealed that cancer patients have an average 58.2% chance of survival for the next 10 years and 63.1% for another five years.

Japan's National Cancer Center-led study is the world's first involving a careful analysis of 35, 287 cancer records of patients who received treatment between 1999 and 2002 at 16 various specialized facilities under the Japanese Association of Clinical Cancer Centers.

Although more than half of cancer patients are estimated to survive for the next ten years of their lives, the study also presented other insightful findings on cancer mortality in Japan.

Findings show that chance of survival and mortality vary according to cancer type. Patients diagnosed with thyroid cancer have 90.9% chance of staying alive for 10 years. High markers also include breast, cervical, and uterine cancers which all have more than 70% survival rate as mentioned in a report by The Motley Fool.

Low markers are deemed very dangerous with survival rate under 30% such as bile duct, esophagus, gallbladder, liver, and pancreatic cancers.

However, doctors warn the public to remain vigilant and avoid complacency as some cancers (e.g. breast & liver) have higher risk of recurrence than others.

The positive reduction in cancer mortality reflects the overall improvement of cancer treatment that focuses on early detection and prevention.

"Cancer treatment is improving, and the 10-year survival rate of those getting treated now will be even higher," remarked Tomomitsu Hotta of the National Cancer Center as quoted saying by Asian Nikkei Review.

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