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Cancer No. 1 cause of death in S. Korea: study

2013/09/10 10:22

SEOUL, Sept. 10 (Yonhap) -- South Koreans are more likely to die of cancer than any other causes, while the rest of the world dies mostly of cardiovascular disease, a local study showed Tuesday.

According to researcher In Hye-kyeong of Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC), cancer was the No. 1 cause of death in the country in 2011.

The research cited the Top 10 Causes of Death fact sheet by the World Health Organization and South Korea's official statistics on top 10 killers in 2011.

A total of 257,396 South Koreans died that year, the greatest since relevant data was first collected.

Cerebrovascular disease caused the second most deaths, followed by heart disease, self-injury and diabetes.

Pneumonia, chronic lower respiratory disease, liver disease, road injury and hypertension were the five less common killers on the list of top 10 causes of death in South Korea.

Alzheimer's disease entered the top 10 list for South Korean women for the first time in 2011 as the No. 9 cause of death.

Worldwide, an estimated 55 million people died in the cited period, mostly of chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes and chronic lung disease.

Cardiovascular disease caused 17 million deaths, or nearly three out of 10 deaths globally. Of them, 7 million died of ischaemic heart disease, and 6.2 million from stroke.

Lower respiratory infections were responsible for 3.2 million deaths, followed by chronic obstructive lung diseases with 3 million deaths.

Noncommunicable diseases made up two-thirds of all deaths worldwide, up from 60 percent in 2000, suggesting that chronic diseases are causing an increasing number of deaths.

Some 6.9 million children died before their fifth birthday, with 99 percent of the deaths occurring in developing countries. The top major killers of children were pneumonia, prematurity, birth asphyxia and birth trauma, and diarrhoeal disease.

The difference between developing and advanced countries remained stark, with seven out of 10 deaths in advanced nations occurring among people aged 70 or older. They died predominantly of chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, dementia, chronic obstructive lung disease and diabetes.

In developing countries, four out of 10 deaths were among children aged below 15, with major reasons being infectious diseases such as lower respiratory infection, HIV/AIDS, diarrhoeal disease, malaria and tuberculosis.