Japan Data

Beating the Big C: Three-Year Cancer Survival Rate at 71%

Society Health

The three-year survival rate of people diagnosed with cancer in Japan was reported as 71.3% by the National Cancer Center. Cancer was once thought to be an incurable disease; but, today, it is curable. 

A report from Japan’s National Cancer Center has shed fresh light on the cancer survival rate in Japan. The three-year survival rate of people first diagnosed with cancer in 2011 was reported as 71.3%, based on analysis conducted on 306,381 cases from 268 facilities nationwide, including hospitals that belong to a group that carry out collaborative work on cancer diagnosis. Survival rates were highest for prostate cancer (99.0%), breast cancer (95.2%), and uterine cancer (85.5%). Pancreatic cancer, which is considered to be difficult to treat, had a comparatively very low three-year survival rate of 15.1%. Reported at the same time, the five-year survival rate people diagnosed with all types of cancer in 2008–9 was 65.8%.

Cancer Survival Rates (%)

3 years 5 years
Prostate cancer 99.0 98.4
Breast cancer 95.2 92.7
Uterine cancer 85.5 82.5
Cervical cancer 78.8 75.6
Colon cancer 78.1 72.9
Stomach cancer 74.3 71.1
Bladder cancer 73.5 70.9
Liver cancer 53.6 39.6
Esophageal cancer 52.0 43.7
Lung cancer 49.4 40.0
Pancreatic cancer 15.1 10.0
Total 71.3 65.8

Compiled by Nippon.com based on data from the National Cancer Center.

Once, cancer was considered to be incurable. However, the probability of early detection has improved due to the advancements in diagnostic imaging equipment. Treatment methods like drugs to identify genes and attack specific cancer cells are also getting better every day. The increase in cancer survival rates is undeniable.

Looking at three-year survival rates for the main types of cancer, early detection seems to be a common factor boosting the chance of survival. When breast cancer is detected early, the rate is extremely high, at around 100% for stage 1 and 98% for stage 2. Stomach and lung cancer survival rates, meanwhile, drop significantly as the stages progress.

The NCC has previously published regular reports on five-year cancer survival rates, based on diagnostic data collected nationwide. This is the first time for the three-year survival data to be made public, in the hope that it can help researchers grasp the impact of new medicines and techniques earlier in the treatment process.

For more data on the disease in Japan, see “Cancer Incidence at All-Time High: 867,000 Cases Reported in 2014.”

(Translated from Japanese. Banner photo © Pixta.)

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