Sat, Mar 14, 2009 - Page 2 News List

Incidence of colorectal cancer on the rise: DOH

By Jimmy Chuang  /  STAFF REPORTER

A total of 73,293 new cancer cases were recorded in 2006, with the largest number being colorectal cancer, the Department of Health (DOH) said yesterday.

The figures mean that, on average, a new cancer patient was diagnosed every 438 seconds in 2006, up slightly from the average of 458 seconds in 2005, when 68,907 new cases were recorded, the department’s latest cancer incidence report showed.

“People are eating more fried food, canned food and oily food. This could be the main reason why colorectal cancer has become the most prevalent type of cancer,” said Chao Kun-yu (趙坤郁), DOH Bureau of Health Promotion deputy director-general. “The latest information we have is from 2006 because it takes time for hospitals to calculate the information.”

The latest statistics show that 10,248 people were diagnosed with colorectal cancer, compared with 10,092 people found to have liver cancer. There were 8,748 cases of lung cancer, 6,895 cases of breast cancer, 5,352 of oral cancer, 3,794 of gastric cancer, 3,073 of prostate cancer, 2,457 of skin cancer, 1,828 of cervical cancer and 1,159 with uterine cancer.

In 2005, 9,916 were diagnosed with liver cancer, while 9,604 people were found to have colorectal cancer.

The statistics also showed that a male’s chance of getting cancer was 1.4 times higher than a female’s. Of all male cancer patients aged between 25 and 44, 27 percent were diagnosed with oral cancer.

“There are still a lot of betel nut addicts out there and those aged between 25 and 44 are usually the group of males who eat the most betel nut, which also increases their risk of oral cancer,” Chao said.

Chao said that the figures for oral cancer would continue to increase over the next decade because of the popularity of betel nut.

He said the rise in the incidence of breast cancer among women is related to dietary habits of high fat and calorie intake, a growing number of overweight and obese people, a drop in the average age of the onset of menstruation and fewer childbirths.

Chao encouraged females between the ages of 50 and 69 to have a mammogram once every two years.

“It is a free service, but only 12 percent of those who qualify make use of it,” Chao said. “We may lower the target age to between 40 and 49 so we can help more women in the early stages.”

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