Sat, Dec 30, 2017 - Page 4 News List

Study continues on lung cancer risks

NON-SMOKING:The eight-year project seeks to find other causes for the disease, the fastest-rising and second-most prevalent type of cancer in the nation

By Jake Chung  /  Staff writer, with CNA

With lung cancer rates on the increase in Taiwan, the Health Promotion Administration (HPA), together with the Taiwan Lung Cancer Society and the National Health Research Institutes, vowed to continue its efforts to determine risk factors for the disease other than smoking.

Since 2014, the three organizations have been working on an eight-year study of people who are not smokers, but are at risk of developing lung cancer.

The project focuses on non-smoking individuals who have a family history of lung cancer, live with a smoker, are chronically exposed to cooking fumes, or had tuberculosis or chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases, society president Chen Yu-min (陳育民) told a news conference on Thursday sponsored by the HPA to release its 2015 Cancer Registration Report.

Chen said the project is expected to recruit 12,000 volunteers aged between 55 and 75, which is the peak range when lung cancer is likely to break out.

The top three types of cancers in the nation in 2015 were colon (15,579 people), lung (13,086) and breast (12,360), the HPA said.

The number of lung cancer patients posted the largest growth — by 624 — compared with 2014, the report showed.

While WHO statistics showed that smoking is one of the greatest dangers leading to lung cancer, HPA Director Wang Ying-wei (王英偉) said that the figures also showed that many of Taiwan’s lung cancer patients were not smokers.

From 2014 to August this year, a total of 7,664 people participating in the project had undergone low-dose computed tomography (LCDT) scans for lung cancer, of which 175 people, or 2.28 percent, developed lung cancer, society secretary-general Lo Yung-hung (羅永鴻) said.

About 98 percent of those who had cancer were diagnosed as early-stage lung adenocarcinoma, Lo said.

International research on lung cancer mainly targets smokers, and Taiwan’s research is one of the few that are not, Lo said, adding that the study hopes to detect new trends in lung cancer.

“We will announce the full results of the research next year and will make a final decision on whether to include high-risk groups for cancer screening,” Lo said.

Preliminary results showed that 20 out of 1,000 people have a high risk of developing lung cancer if they met the aforementioned risk factors, Chen said, adding that he considered the results to be of great value for cancer screening for those aged 55 to 75.

Next year will mark the third phase of the lung cancer screening project, which will include air pollution as a potential risk factor for the disease, the HPA said.

People living in high air pollution areas would be asked to undergo LDCT scans to determine whether lung cancer and air pollution are directly correlated, it added.

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