Photo/IllutrationA female cancer patient learns how to cover eyebrow loss or dullness of skin color from an employee of Shiseido Co. at the National Cancer Center Hospital East in Kashiwa, Chiba Prefecture. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)

  • Photo/Illustraion

Females account for 78 percent of all cancer patients in the 15-39 age group, underscoring the need for young women to undergo screening for the disease, according to a nationwide survey.

The National Cancer Center and the National Center for Child Health and Development on Oct. 18 released the results of the first nationwide survey in Japan conducted on cancer patients under 40 years old.

The survey covered about 62,000 people who were diagnosed with cancer at 844 hospitals and other medical institutions over two years from 2016.

Among children aged 0 to 14, boys have a higher rate of cancer, at 55 percent, than girls, according to the survey.

But in the age bracket from 15 to 39, the generation of adolescents and young adults, 44,946, or 77.7 percent, of those who were diagnosed with cancer were female.

The ratio for women tends to increase with age, beginning in the 20s.

“The percentage of female cancer patients starts surging with those aged 25 years as a threshold,” said Kimikazu Matsumoto, head of the Children’s Cancer Center at the National Center for Child Health and Development. “Different support will be needed according to various major life events that they are likely to go through, such as entering the work force and getting married.

“We need to establish a system that allows us to provide dedicated support for patients of different ages and gender.”

Earlier stage cervical cancer accounts for 40 percent of cancers among females in the 15-39 age group, the survey showed.

The government recommends women aged 20 or older to undergo screening for the cancer once every two years.

The survey team is urging young patients to heed that advice because the actual rate of women who received the screening is between 30 and 40 percent, according to a 2016 government survey.

The survey on cancer patients under 40 did not provide a detailed analysis of cancer among males between 15 and 39.

Still, the percentage of common cancers, such as stomach cancer and lung cancer, was the highest, accounting for about 45 percent among those male patients. That was followed by germ cell tumors, including testicular cancer.