The number of patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), the most common type of liver cancer, has steadily increased over the past five years, and nearly eight out of 10 HCC patients were men, according to the government data.
According to National Health Insurance Service data on HCC care, the number of HCC patients rose to 64,525 last year, up 5,485 from 2017. Additionally, the number increased by 2.2% per year for five years, from 2017 to 2021.
The growth rate was similar between men and women, but the number of male patients with HCC was extremely higher than that of female counterparts.
Over the past five years, the number of men with HCC has increased by 9.2% to 49,777, and that of women by 9.6% to 14,848.
Among the 64,525 patients with HCC, 77% were men.
HCC accounted for the largest proportion of liver cancer cases.
In 2021, 80,853 patients received medical care due to liver cancer, and 79.8% were patients with HCC.
Other types of liver cancer include:
ㆍ Intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma (12.9%).
ㆍ Unspecified liver cancer (6.5%).
ㆍOther liver cancer (0.4%).
ㆍ Hepatovascular sarcoma (0.1%).
ㆍOther hepatosarcoma (0.1%).
By age group, people in their 60s accounted for 36.7% of patients with HCC, followed by 70s with 26.3% and 50s with 19.9%.
The total cost of HCC care recorded 553.2 billion won ($421.8 million) in 2021, up 19.7% from 2017. The cost increased at an annual growth rate of 4, 3%.
The cost of HCC treatment per capita also increased by 8.4%, from 7.91 million won in 2017 to 8.57 million won in 2021.
HCC patients in their twenties had the highest medical expenses.
Medical expenditure was highest among HCC patients in their twenties, with the per capita cost reaching 11.37 million won in 2021.