Fri, Jul 26, 2019 - Page 4 News List

Taipei offers prizes for cancer exams

SAVING LIVES:The city is encouraging women to take regular mammograms, as the incidence rate for breast cancer is still the highest among all cancers nationwide

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

The Taipei Department of Health and the Formosa Cancer Foundation are offering cash prizes to encourage female residents to get a mammogram and pap smear regularly.

Taiwanese women aged 45 or above, or 40 to 44 years old with relatives within the first and second degrees who have been diagnosed with breast cancer, are eligible for a free mammogram funded by the government once every two years.

Female residents aged 30 to 69 are also eligible for an annual free pap smear.

From this month until Oct. 31, Taipei female residents who receive one of the two government-funded tests at any of the 12 city district health centers will receive a lottery scratch card, the department said.

The cash prizes, totaling NT$460,000, include NT$10,000 cash certificates and more than 9,000 small prizes.

Speaking at Taipei City Hall on Tuesday, Department of Health Commissioner Huang Shier-chieg (黃世傑) said that 136,599 residents received a mammogram last year, representing an increase of 13.64 percent from the previous year.

The screening rate climbed from 42.92 percent in 2017 to 49.7 percent last year, Huang added.

The pap smear screening rate in Taipei also increased from 53.22 percent in 2017 to 53.79 percent last year, he said.

Although the mortality rate for breast cancer has been on the decline in Taiwan, the incidence rate is still the highest among all cancers in women nationwide, Formosa Cancer Foundation chief executive officer Lai Gi-ming (賴基銘), an oncologist, said.

While the breast cancer screening rate in Taipei is higher than the national average, and more early-stage breast cancers are being detected as the screening rate increases, studies suggest that a rate of 55 to 60 percent is needed for the incidence rate to drop, he said.

Media personality Sisy Chen (陳文茜) said that the Department of Health has been contacting eligible residents to encourage them to get cancer screenings.

Chen urged “girlfriends and besties” to invite each other to take the tests together.

Women should love themselves more like men who love cars and often spend time maintaining them, television host Momoko Tao (陶晶瑩) said.

Although people often say mammograms are painful or uncomfortable, they should try to endure the short-term pain to safeguard their health, she added.

“Love ourselves a little bit more,” Chen and Tao said together.

Women ought to take some time from their busy lives to get cancer screenings regularly, the pair said.

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