Cancer incidence continues to rise in Taiwan

12/29/2020 01:48 PM
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Illustrative photo from Unsplash
Illustrative photo from Unsplash

Taipei, Dec. 29 (CNA) The number of new cases of cancer in Taiwan has continued to climb, with 4,447 more people diagnosed in 2018 than in 2017, a Health Promotion Administration (HPA) official said Tuesday.

A total of 116,131 people were diagnosed with various types of cancer in 2018, equal to one new case every four minutes and 31 seconds, compared to four minutes and 42 seconds in 2017, Lin Li-ju (林莉茹), head of the HPA's Cancer Prevention and Control Division, told a news conference.

The most common types of cancer diagnosed in 2018, the most recent year for which detailed cancer data has been compiled, were colorectal cancer, lung cancer, breast cancer, and liver cancer.

Rounding out the top 10 were oral cancer, prostate cancer, thyroid cancer, skin cancer, stomach cancer and endometrial cancer, she said.

The 2018 list was largely unchanged from previous years, with colorectal cancer ranked as the most common cancer type for the 13th consecutive year, while endometrial cancer replaced esophogeal cancer as the 10th most common variety.

The median age for new cancer diagnoses was 63 years old, according to Lin, although several types of the disease were typically found at a younger age, including breast cancer (56), cervical cancer (58), oral cancer (57), esophageal cancer (59), thyroid cancer (50) and endometrial cancer (55).

In terms of diagnoses by gender, males accounted for 61,779 of the new cases (341.3 new cases per 100,000 males), with colorectal cancer (9,512 cases), lung cancer (8,424 cases) and liver cancer (7,819 cases) claiming the top three positions, Lin said.

Females accounted for 54,352 of the cases (284.7 new cases per 100,000 females), of which breast cancer was by far the most common (14,217 cases), followed by colorectal cancer (7,013 cases) and lung cancer (6,921 cases), she said.

According to Lin, the HPA expects cancer incidence to continue to rise in the coming years, in part because of Taiwan's aging population but also because of negative lifestyle factors.

On a positive note, Lin said, the proportion of lung cancer cases diagnosed early (stages 0-1) rose from 14.7 percent of the total cases in 2009 to 31.1 percent in 2018.

The rise in early detections may be related to growing awareness of lung cancer risk factors other than smoking, as well as the increased use of LDCT (low-dose computed tomography) scanning, which studies have found to be more effective than standard chest x-rays, Lin said.

(By Chen Wei-ting and Matthew Mazzetta)

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