Long-term Trends in Cancer Mortality in Korea (1983-2007): A Joinpoint Regression Analysis


Cancer has been the most common cause of death in Korea since 1983 and is a major public concern. Theaim of this study was to analyze the secular trend of cancer mortality in Korea from 1983 to 2007. Mortality andpopulation data from 1983 to 2007 were obtained from the Korea Statistical Office. The annual cancer deathrates for 18 age groups were estimated, and joinpoint regression was applied to detect significant changes incancer mortality. The age-standardized mortality rate for all sites combined increased until the mid-1990s andhas been decreasing thereafter, this also being the case for cancers of the esophagus, liver, lung and bladder, aswell as leukemia. With stomach and uterine cancers a constant reduction was evident throughout the period.The declines in stomach, liver, and uterine cancer mortality have made major contributions to the recent overallfavorable trend. Mortality for cancers of the colon and rectum and the prostate increased in the early 2000s andthen leveled off, whereas female breast cancer mortality has displayed a constant increasing trend. In conclusion,overall cancer mortality is decreasing in men and women in Korea, and this trend will probably continue andimprove further in line with advances in management as well as the expected impact of the national screeningprogram for major five cancers over the next decades.