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Gov't should strengthen support for cancer patients: nonprofit group

2017/03/17 10:36

SEOUL, March 17 (Yonhap) -- The government should increase financial support for patients with cancer, the leading cause of death in South Korea, to help reduce the burden of their medical expenses, a local nonprofit health organization said Friday.

The Korea Cancer Care Alliance released a set of policy suggestions that center around the government giving support to patients and their families so as to ease excessive financial burdens associated with medical care.

A total of 76,855 people died of cancer in 2015, which accounted for 27.9 percent of all deaths reported in the country, according to the data provided by Statistics Korea. Cancer's death rate -- the number of deaths per 100,000 people -- stood at 150.8 in 2015, down slightly from the previous year's 150.9.

"The government should review a policy that assists new medicine development by strengthening support for clinical trials," said Yim Young-hyeok, chief of the alliance, adding that cancer patients should not lose an opportunity for treatment due to financial reasons.

Under the advisory, the government should come up with a system to bolster clinical trials and to drastically reduce burdens for patients with stage four cancer, the alliance said.

Also, a discussion panel made up of representatives from the government, the National Assembly, doctors, patients and pharmaceutical companies should be set up to tackle cancer in a systematic manner, the group said.