PURPOSE: To estimate the current cancer burden in Korea, newly diagnosed cancer cases and cancer incidence rates were calculated for the years 2003~2005. MATERIALS AND METHODS: The cancer incidence cases and rates were calculated from the Korea National Cancer Incidence Database. Crude and age-standardized incidence rates were calculated by gender for specified cancer sites in 5-year age groups. RESULTS: From 2003 to 2005, 398,824 cases of cancer were newly diagnosed in Korea (218,856 in men and 179,968 in women). For all sites combined, the crude incidence rate (CR) was 300.0 and 248.2 for men and women and the age-standardized incidence rate (ASR) was 297.0 and 191.2 per 100,000, respectively. Among men, five leading cancers were stomach (CR 66.0, ASR 64.2), lung (CR 48.5, ASR 50.3), liver (CR 44.9, ASR 42.1), colon and rectum (CR 37.9, ASR 37.2), and prostate cancer (CR 12.7, ASR 13.8). Among women, five leading cancers were breast (CR 37.3, ASR 29.0), thyroid (CR 36.2, ASR 28.8), stomach (CR 34.1, ASR 25.4), colon and rectum (CR 28.0, ASR 21.1), and lung cancer (CR 17.9, ASR 12.8). In the 0~14-year-old group, leukemia was the most common in both sexes; in the 15~34 group, the most common cancer was stomach cancer for men and thyroid cancer for women; in the 35~64 group, stomach cancer for men and breast cancer for women; among those 65 and over, lung cancer for men and stomach cancer, for women, respectively. CONCLUSION: The cancer incidence rates have increased in recent years, and more cancers are expected to develop as Korea is quickly becoming an aged society. The cancer incidence statistics in this report can be used as an important source to effectively plan and evaluate the cancer control program in Korea.