Fri, Jun 22, 2012 - Page 3 News List

Cancer patient diagnosed every six minutes: report

FREE SCREENING:One health official said colon cancer has been the most common type of cancer in Taiwan since 2007, accounting for about 14% of cases in 2009

Staff writer, with CNA

A new cancer patient is diagnosed every six minutes and two seconds, according to a report released by the Bureau of Health Promotion yesterday.

In 2009, 87,189 Taiwanese — 49,022 men and 38,167 women — were diagnosed with cancer, according to the report, which compiles statistics from 213 hospitals nationwide.

There were 7,371 more new cancer cases reported in 2009 than in 2008, according to the figures.

The increase was mostly in colon cancer, lung cancer, breast cancer and oral cancer, it said.

Meanwhile, the median age for cancer diagnosis was 63, with an average age of 65 for men and 60 for women, the report showed.

The report was released as part of a campaign to raise public awareness of cancer prevention and screening programs, some of which are offered free by local health authorities, the bureau said.

In the wake of the report showing that the number of Taiwanese suffering from cancer is on the rise, the public was yesterday urged by the Department of Health to make wider use of government-funded colon cancer screening programs.

Bureau of Health Promotion -Director-General Chiou Shu-ti (邱淑媞) told a press conference that colon cancer has been the most commonly diagnosed type of cancer in Taiwan since 2007.

Of the 87,189 cases reported in 2009, 12,488 were colon cancer, she said, citing the bureau’s report.

The frequency of colon cancer increased by 1,484 cases compared with 2008, she said, adding that there was also an increased incidence of lung, breast and oral cancer.

In light of this, the government subsidizes programs encouraging citizens aged 50 to 69 to undertake fecal occult blood tests every two years, she said.

Despite this, only 30 percent of those eligible have taken the test and 40 percent of those who have tested positive have failed to return for a follow-up appointment, Chiou said.

With the overall five-year colon cancer survival rate at 60.3 percent and even higher for those diagnosed at zero or first stage, the public should not be afraid to consult a doctor, she said.

In addition to early detection through screening, Chiou said prevention can also be enhanced by regular exercise and a healthy lifestyle.

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