Published : 2013-02-15 10:46
Updated : 2013-02-15 10:46
The number of cancer-related deaths in Seoul rose more than 20 percent over the past 10 years, data showed Friday.
According to a comprehensive analysis on the health and welfare of citizens by the Seoul Metropolitan Government, for every 100,000 people 119.6 died of cancer in 2011, up from 98 in 2001.
Lung cancer was the No. 1 cause of cancer-related deaths in 2011, killing 24.5 out of every 100,000 citizens, followed by liver cancer with 17.4, stomach cancer with 15.3 and rectal cancer with 13.7, the data showed. In 2001, stomach cancer was the most fatal claiming 18.2 lives for every 100,000 citizens, followed by lung cancer with 17.7.
Cerebral vascular diseases and heart problems followed cancer as the major causes of deaths in Seoul, killing 35.6 and 31.2 people out of 100,000 people, respectively, in 2011. Over the past 10 years, the death toll by cerebral vascular diseases dropped by more than 30 percent while the number of deaths due to heart diseases rose some 10 percent.
Combined, the three major diseases - cancer, cerebral vascular diseases and heart diseases -- claimed 46.8 percent of a total of 40,320 deaths in 2011, the data showed.
In a survey conducted by the municipal government on Seoul citizens aged over 13 years old in May last year, some 72.4 percent said they had experienced stress within the past two weeks, with 12.8 percent complaining of "severe strain."
The largest share, or 77.6 percent, said their job was the major cause for stress, followed by school work with 56.6 percent and family life with 50.3 percent, the survey showed.
"What is positive is that the number of people who exercise regularly and go for a regular medical checkup grew some 30 percent and 70 percent last year, respectively, compared to 2006," said a Seoul city official. "We will now pay more attention to the mental condition of the people, as things like stress make people vulnerable to illnesses."
Meanwhile, the city's survey found that the number of people here who see the welfare of the elderly as a responsibility of not only their immediate family but of society doubled in a decade, indicating a sea of change in the traditional values of the patriarchal society.
Some 54 percent said the responsibility to take care of the elderly should be shared by their family members, the government and society as a whole in 2012, more than doubled from 22.3 percent in 2002.
Back in 2002, 64.8 percent of Seoul citizens said the family should support their elderly relations, but that number dropped to 28.7 percent last year.
"It is a stark reality that the society should bear a heavier burden to support the elderly as we have more of their population amid a low birthrate," said another Seoul city official in charge of the welfare issues.
South Korea is fast becoming an aged society, in which more than 14 percent of the population is 65 or older. Korea became an aging society in 2000, when the ratio exceeded 7 percent.
The country's fertility rate was the world's seventh lowest in 2011, with 1.24 children per woman. It is lower than the average birth rate of 1.74 among members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. By 2050, 39 percent of the South Korean population is expected to be over 60 years old, compared with the current level of 17 percent.
"In 2002, an elderly citizen was supported by 12.7 working-age people, but as of last year, the number decreased to 7.2 people, and is expected to drop further to two in 2039," said the official. (Yonhap News)