The welfare and health surcharge levied on cigarettes will continue to fund cancer screening services, the Bureau of Health Promotion said, adding that starting today, colorectal and oral cancer screenings will be included in the program.
The subsidized biennial oral cancer-screening program has targeted smokers and betel nut users aged above 30 and is to be extended to cover Aboriginal people aged 18 and over who chew betel nuts, the bureau said.
The age range of the free biennial colorectal cancer screening service offered to people aged between 50 and 69 has been extended upward to 74.
An additional 770,000 people will benefit from the measure to expand the service, the bureau said.
According to a national health survey conducted by the bureau in 2009, the percentage of betel nut users among Aboriginal men aged 18 and above was 41.2 percent, which was three times higher than the rate among Taiwanese men in general (14.1%).
The data also showed a relatively high rate of betel nut users (15.6%) among Aboriginal teenagers.
Data provided by the Cancer Registry of 2010 show that the incidence rate of colorectal cancer was higher among elderly people, with about 260 of every 100,000 people aged 70 to 74 diagnosed with colorectal cancer.
The service expansion is aimed at better meeting the public’s needs and to reduce deaths from oral and colorectal cancers, bureau director-general Chiou Shu-ti (邱淑媞) said.