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Health department urges colon cancer screening amid rising cases

2012/06/21 13:35:33

Taipei, June 21 (CNA) The Department of Health urged the public Thursday to use a government-funded colon cancer screening program in the wake of a report showing that the number of Taiwanese suffering from the disease is on the rise.

Colon cancer has been the most common type of cancer diagnosed in Taiwan since 2007, said Chiou Shu-ti, director-general of the department's Bureau of Health Promotion, in a press conference.

Of the 87,189 cases reported in 2009, 12,488 were colon cancer, said Chiou, citing a report published by her bureau that same day.

Colon cancer occurrences were up 1,484 compared to 2008, she said, adding that other cancers on the rise are lung, breast and oral cancer.

In light of this, the government has been subsidizing citizens aged 50-69 to receive fecal occult blood tests every two years, she said.

Despite this, Chiou said, only 30 percent of those eligible have taken the tests and 40 percent of those who have tested positive have failed to return for a follow-up appointment.

With the overall five-year colon cancer survival rate at 60.3 percent and even higher for those diagnosed at zero or first stage, the public should not be afraid to seek consultations, she said.

Besides early detection through screening, Chiou said prevention can also be done through regular exercise and a healthy lifestyle.

(By Nancy Liu)