Fri, Dec 29, 2017 - Page 1 News List

National cancer diagnosis rate increasing annually

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

Health Promotion Administration Cancer Prevention Section Director Wu Chien-yuan announces the latest statistics on cancer at a news conference in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: CNA

About every five minutes, one person in Taiwan is diagnosed with cancer, an average of six seconds faster than last year, the Health Promotion Administration (HPA) said yesterday, as it released national cancer registration statistics.

The cancer registration statistics for 2015 showed that 105,156 people were diagnosed with cancer, an increase of 2,009 people, and the age-adjusted incidence rate was 302 cases per 100,000 people — 1.8 cases less than in 2014.

The median age of diagnosis for all types of cancer in 2015 was 63, the same as in 2014, and the top 10 common types of cancer registered in 2015 were, in descending order; colon, lung, breast, liver, oral, prostate, gastric, skin, thyroid and esophageal.

Colon cancer has remained on top of the list for 10 consecutive years, with the number of cases registered dropping by 185 people, HPA statistics showed.

The main reason for a reduction in colon cancer cases is the effectiveness of screening. Removing precancerous polyps when detected through screening reduces the risk of cancer, HPA Director-General Wang Ying-wei (王英偉) said.

About 70 percent of people who are eligible for government-funded colon cancer screening have undergone the examination at least once since the program began in 2004, and up to 93 percent were diagnosed with premalignant lesions or early-stage cancer with a five-year survival rate of more than 70 percent, HPA Cancer Control and Prevention Division Director Wu Chien-yuan (吳建遠) said.

However, only about 24 percent of those diagnosed with colon cancer without screening have early-stage cancer, she said, adding that studies have suggested that colon cancer screening can reduce cancer incidence by 50 percent.

The registered number of liver, gastric and skin cancer cases have been dropping for six consecutive years, and the numbers of breast, thyroid and uterine cancer cases are increasing, the data showed.

“Advancing age is a main risk factor for developing cancer,” Wang said. “The Taiwanese population is aging rapidly, so the speeding up of the ‘cancer death clock’ is likely to continue.”

Liver cancer does not usually occur suddenly, and the effects of air pollution or smoking cigarettes can accumulate and develop into diseases over 20 years, so preventive measures need to be taken as early as possible, he said,

Smoking cigarettes, drinking alcohol, chewing betel nut, obesity, lack of exercise, eating an unhealthy diet or carcinogenic viruses are also cancer risk factors, but about 30 percent to 50 percent of cancers can be avoided by preventive measures and regular cancer screening, Wang said.

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