Failure to undergo a follow-up colonoscopy after testing positive in a colorectal cancer screening can increase the risk of death from colorectal cancer by 64 percent, the Health Promotion Administration (HPA) said yesterday.
The incidence rate of colorectal cancer has been increasing in Taiwan since 2006 and the disease has ranked first among the most common types of cancer for 12 consecutive years, the HPA said, citing the Cancer Registry Annual Report.
About 16,000 people were diagnosed with colorectal cancer in 2017, it said.
Photo: Yang Yuan-ting, Taipei Times
Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, only about 500,000 people underwent a fecal occult blood test under the government-funded national cancer screening program in the first six months of this year, which is about a 20 percent decline from the same period last year, HPA Deputy Director-General Wu Chao-chun (吳昭軍) said.
The number of people who underwent a colonoscopy for diagnosis following a positive fecal occult blood test also fell by about 10 percent, as an estimated 10,000 people who tested positive did not undergo a colonoscopy, HPA data showed.
Colorectal cancer usually does not show symptoms in its early stages, so regularly undergoing colorectal cancer screening is important for detecting early signs, Wu said.
“About one case of colorectal cancer is confirmed in every 20 people who test positive in a fecal occult blood test, which means there might be 500 confirmed cases in 10,000 people,” National Taiwan University Hospital clinical professor of internal medicine Chiu Han-mo (邱瀚模) said.
Among the about 500 possible colorectal cancer cases, about half might have only stage 0 or 1 colorectal cancer, which is highly curable and has a five-year survival rate of up to 95 percent, he said.
However, the survival rate falls if the cancer develops into later stages due to delayed diagnosis and treatment, Chiu said.
The risk of developing colorectal cancer can increase by 2.8 times in people who fail to undergo a colonoscopy within a year of testing positive in a fecal occult blood test, the HPA said.
As 88 percent of colorectal cancer cases have been diagnosed in people aged 50 or above, the HPA provides a free fecal occult blood test every two years to people aged 50 to 74, it said.
Undergoing the test every two years can reduce the colorectal cancer mortality rate by 35 percent, it added.
SPEEDING ELETRIC VEHICLES: Available without license requirements, the low-cost vehicles, especially if illicitly modified, can often reach a dangerous speed The government should crack down on illegal electric bicycles and scooters, the non-profit Consumers’ Foundation said on Friday, citing research on the potentially dangerous speed of the vehicles. Electric bicycles and lightweight electric scooters have gained popularity as they do not require registration and riders do not need licenses, the foundation said, adding that as many as 40 percent of them can reach speeds exceeding the legal limit of 25kph for non-licensed two-wheelers. Some consumers also purchased legal electric vehicles and modified them to reach higher speeds, it said. “If the government does not step up efforts to confiscate these
DIPLOMATIC MOVES: Beijing is reportedly pressing the state after reports of forming links with Taiwan, while the ministry is also planning to reopen its office in Guam soon A representative office is set to open in Somaliland at the end of this month, at the earliest, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said yesterday amid reports that Beijing is sending a diplomatic delegation to the east African country. The ministry on July 1 announced that Taiwan and Somaliland would establish representative offices, following a report by the Somaliland Chronicle Web site. It said at the time that the two nations did not plan to establish formal ties. Somaliland President Muse Bihi Abdi has instructed close confidants to explore the possibility of “mutual recognition between Taiwan and Somaliland,” the Somaliland Chronicle reported
A Belgian man who tested positive for COVID-19 in Taiwan last week is likely to have contracted the disease in Taipei in late June, National Taiwan University (NTU) College of Public Health vice dean Tony Chen (陳秀熙) said yesterday. The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) on Saturday reported that the man, who is in his 20s, came to Taiwan for work on May 3 and tested positive on Wednesday last week as he was about to depart. The man in March reported loss of taste and smell, the center said, adding that he worked in Changhua County, but visited Taipei several times,
NEW ERA: Taiwan, which has controlled its virus outbreak, now faces the challenge of safely resuming economic exchanges with other nations, Chang Shan-chwen said People should not focus entirely on having zero new confirmed COVID-19 cases in Taiwan, but neglect overall control over the disease situation, Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) specialist advisory panel convener Chang Shan-chwen (張上淳) said yesterday. Chang made the remark at a forum in Taipei discussing the steps Taiwan should take in the post-pandemic era, organized by the Chinese-language magazine Global Views Monthly. Chang, Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Director-General Chou Jih-haw (周志浩), and Stanford University’s Center for Policy, Outcomes and Prevention director C. Jason Wang (王智弘) each made a presentation, followed by a panel discussion with Chang, Wang and Buddhist Tzu