Cancer the Leading Cause of Death in South Korea in 2014

Michael Song, Sept. 23, 2015, 8:29 a.m.

Cancer remained the leading cause of death in South Korea in 2014, with the death rate from the disease also rising steadily, government data showed Wednesday. A total of 75,334 people died of cancer last year, which accounted for 28.3 percent of all deaths reported last year, according to the data provided by Statistics Korea.

Cancer's death rate -- the number of deaths per 100,000 people -- stood at 149 last year, up from the previous year's 146.5. Cardiovascular, or heart-related, diseases came next, accounting for 9.9 percent of all deaths with its death rate of 52.4, followed by cerebrovascular, or brain-related, diseases and suicides, which made up 9.1 percent and 5.2 percent of all deaths, respectively.

Compared to the year before, heart disease rose one notch to displace cerebrovascular-related disease as the country's No. 2 killer. Suicides also rose from fifth to fourth place, with diabetes moving down to fifth. The statistical office said cancer, cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases accounted for 47.7 percent of all deaths, up 0.3 percentage point from 47.4 percent the year before.

The latest data showed that cancer, cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases were also the top three killers for both men and women, although for women pneumonia was the fourth-leading cause of death followed by diabetes. For men, suicides ranked fourth with pneumonia coming fifth. By age, those who were in their 80s accounted for 38.8 percent of all deaths in 2014.

A total of 267,692 South Koreans died last year, up 0.5 percent from a year earlier. The death rate inched up 0.1 percent on-year to 527.3. In 2013, the number of deaths hit 266,257 with the death rate standing at 526.6.


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