Wed, Jan 05, 2005 - Page 4 News List

Women unaware of cancer risk: survey


A majority of women in Taiwan are unaware that lung cancer is the No. 1 cause of death among women in the country each year, a survey found yesterday.

The survey was conducted by the Formosa Cancer Foundation and a food company. It questioned 1,067 women aged 25 to 65 around the nation.

The survey showed that 80 percent of women are not aware that lung cancer is the No. 1 killer. Some 59 percent did not know what the early symptoms to look for were and 48 percent had no idea how the disease could be prevented.

Lai Kee-ming (賴基銘), executive director of the foundation, said that every day, six women in Taiwan die from lung cancer. Moreover, many women who do not smoke and who lead a healthy life have suddenly find themselves in the terminal stages of lung cancer.

Patients living for five years after being diagnosed with lung cancer is less than 15 percent, he said.

Lai pointed out that half of lung cancer cases have no definite cause, leading many researchers to believe that the disease may be genetically influenced. However, around 40 percent are the result of second-hand smoke, and only 10 percent are smokers themselves.

Lai said that women exposed to second-hand smoke will increase their odds of contracting lung cancer five-fold. The survey also found that nearly half of women live with members of their family who smoke.

Two out of every three women do not know the hazards posed by exposure to second-hand smoke, the survey also indicated.

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