Mon, Feb 05, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Study links age and types of cancer

By Lin Yan-tung and William Hetherington  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Ahead of World Cancer Day yesterday, the Formosa Cancer Foundation on Saturday released the results of a study on the correlation between age group and types of cancer in Taiwan.

The study analyzed data collected in 2015 by the Ministry of Health and Welfare’s Health Promotion Administration.

“In the past, we focused on the frequency of onset of the 10 major cancers, but with this study we looked at what cancers tend to appear based on age group. This will help us know what to look out for so we can take preventative measures,” foundation chief executive Lai Gi-ming (賴基銘) said.

The study showed that thyroid gland cancer is the most common cancer among those in their 20s and early 30s, while leukemia and brain cancer are the most common forms among minors.

Intestinal cancer and lung cancer are the most common among the middle-aged and elderly, the study found.

Males have a higher chance of developing cancer and are more likely to die as a result of the disease, the study showed.

The number of males who had cancer in 2015 was 56,642, while 48,514 females did, and while 29,215 males died of cancer-related illness that year, only 18,545 females did, Lai said.

The average age of men with cancer in the study was 64, and the average age of men who died from cancer was 68, while for women the corresponding ages were 61 and 71, he said.

Men tend to have lifestyles and habits that put them at greater risk of developing cancer, such as smoking, drinking alcohol and chewing betel nut, and they often discover they have cancer after it has reached a late stage, he said.

Treatment is often less effective with males, and the rate of death for males with cancer is therefore higher than that of females, he said.

The government should research whether radiation carried in air pollution is causing the onset of thyroid cancer in young adults, he said, saying there was an increased number of people with the illness in Ukraine and Japan as a result of the Chernobyl and Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant accidents respectively.

Although Taiwan has never had a nuclear plant disaster, the high number of young people with thyroid cancer indicates a possible concealed source of radiation in environment, he said.

“The Health Promotion Administration offers free cancer screenings, which the public is encouraged to take advantage of. If cancer is discovered early, it can be treated early,” he said.

The theme of this year’s World Cancer Day was “We can, I can.”

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