DOH releases report on nation's cancer problem

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taiwanTAIPEI - One person was diagnosed with cancer every 8.4 minutes on average in Taiwan in 2003, compared with 8.5 minutes in 2001 and nine minutes in 2000, a report released yesterday by the Department of Health (DOH) showed.

The 2003 figures were calculated based on the number of cancer cases at 212 hospitals around the country with at least 50 beds.

There were 250.77 cancer patients out of every 100,000 people in Taiwan in 2003, with liver cancer and breast cancer the most common types of cancer among men and women, respectively, the report showed.

It was found that the 10 most common types of cancer among men were, in order of prevalence: liver cancer, lung cancer, colon cancer, oral cancer, stomach cancer, prostate cancer, bladder cancer, esophagus cancer, pharyngeal cancer and skin cancer.

Among women, the 10 most common kinds of cancer were breast cancer, colon cancer, liver cancer, lung cancer, cervical cancer, stomach cancer, thyroid cancer, ovarian cancer, uterine cancer, and skin cancer.

Chao Kun-yu (趙坤郁), the deputy director-general of the DOH's Bureau of Health Promotion, said that a total of 62,542 new cancer cases were reported in 2003, up 3,543 cases on 2002.

While there were 288.98 male cancer patients out of every 100,000 men, 212.02 cancer cases were registered for every 100,000 women, Chao said.

With the promotion of smear tests by public health officials around the country, the occurrence rate of cervical cancer in women has dropped by roughly 37 percent over the past five years, Chao said.

However, occurrence rates of oral cancer and esophagus cancer in men increased by 20 percent, mainly as a result of smoking, alcohol consumption and betel nut chewing, Chao added.

Since cancer tops Taiwan's list of 10 major causes of death, Chao called for the public to form the habit of undergoing regular cancer screening tests, adding that "an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of treatment."

source - The Taipei Times 

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