Taipei, June 21 (CNA) The Department of Health on Thursday urged women aged 45-69 to use the government-funded breast cancer screening program once every two years as the disease has been the most common cancer type in women for years.
Of the 38,167 women diagnosed with cancer in 2009, breast cancer patients took up the largest share -- 8,926 people, followed by colon cancer and lung cancer, the department's Bureau of Health Promotion said.
The average age for breast cancer patients in the country was in the 50s, it said.
Compared with the figures 10 years ago, 20 more women per 100,000 female population were diagnosed with breast cancer in 2009, followed by 5.8 more women with lung cancer, it added.
The number of women diagnosed with cervical cancer reduced by 13.5 in every 100,000 female population, it said.
Chiou Shu-ti, the bureau's director-general, said less than 30 percent of the women eligible for the free screening have used the screening program.
She called on women aged 45-69 to receive breast cancer screening once every two years in order to catch the disease early.
She said the five-year survival rate for breast cancer among women was 87.5 percent and that for those diagnosed at zero or first stage, the five-year survival rate was 97 percent.
Kuo An-ni, a gynecologist/obstetrician at Chung Shan Hospital in Taipei, said that women under the age of 45 can have breast ultrasound and then if needed, receive a mammogram, to test for breast cancer.
(By Lung Jui-yun and Jamie Wang)