Thu, Oct 05, 2006 - Page 3 News List

Taiwan Quick Take: Chewers neglect oral checks

STAFF WRITER WITH CNA

The number of people in Taiwan who chew betel nut exceeds 1 million, but fewer than 5 percent of them have undergone an oral checkup to detect symptoms of oral cancer over the past year, according to the results of a study conducted by the Department of Health last year which were made public yesterday. More than 15 percent of men aged over 15 and 1 percent of women chew betel nut, according to the study, the vast majority of whom failed to have an oral examination, with "good health," "no time" and "slim chance of getting cancer" the most often cited reasons, the study showed. Compared to a similar poll conducted in 2002, the number of betel nut chewers in Taiwan has decreased. Incidences of oral cancer have been rising -- most rapidly among local males -- with a 20 percent increase over the last five years, the results showed. The mortality rate for oral cancer among Taiwanese men is expected to become the world's highest in the not so distant future, department officials warned.

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