- Central News Agency
Mortality rates among sufferers of liver cancer, one of the leading causes of death for Taiwan people, seem to be on the decline, the nation’s top health official said yesterday. Chen Chien-jen minister of the Department of Health (DOH), made the remarks after the DOH unveiled earlier that day its annual cancer registry report for 2000, the most recent statistics available. Chen said that in 2000, the liver cancer rate was 36.06 people in every 100,000, an increase rate of 20 percent between 1996 and 2000.
As hepatitis is an important factor in the development of liver cancer, Chen said that the DOH would step up medication for chronic hepatitis B and C patients next year, in an attempt to effectively curb the spread of liver cancer.
Chen also noted that although both the number of lung cancer patients and mortality rates in the United States have dropped because of pressure from anti-tobacco groups, cigarette production in the United States has not decreased accordingly. Instead, U.S. tobacco companies have simply increased their cigarette exports, Chen said, which is having an adverse effect on lung cancer control efforts in other countries.
In Taiwan, excessive drinking, betel-nut chewing and smoking are all associated with oral cancer and cancer of the esophagus, and Chen said that the most effective way to prevent such cancers is to avoid alcohol, betel nuts and cigarettes. In addition, he went on, the ratio of Taiwan women suffering from lung cancer is high, a phenomenon he claimed has to do with second-hand smoke and the smoke many women routinely inhale when cooking, because of their traditional cooking methods. Ovarian, breast, and cervical cancer have also continued to increase, he added.
The 2000 cancer registry shows that the cancer rate increased by nearly 20 percent between 1996 and 2000, except for nasopharynx cancer and stomach cancer in men and stomach and cervical cancer in women. DOH officials said the report also shows that the number of new cancer victims increased by 59,116, with men outnumbering women 1.13-fold.
Out of every 100,000 people, 273.8 men and 241.44 women had cancer in 2000, the annual report also shows.
Chao Kun-yu, deputy director-general of the DOH Bureau of Health Promotion, said that only thyroid cancer in women is higher than in men, and that they fared better than men in every other form of non-gender-specific cancer. Overall, the survival rates for women cancer victims over the past five years were better at 57.36 percent compared with 31.78 percent for men.
The top five leading cancers for men in 2000 were liver cancer, lung cancer, colo-rectal, oral, and stomach cancer, while the top leading cancers for women were cervical, breast, colo-rectal, liver and lung cancer.