Cancer still leading cause of death in Taiwan
By Joy Lee, The China Post
February 5, 2014, 12:14 am TWN
TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Cancer has topped the list of the 10 leading causes of death in Taiwan for 31 years in a row, the Ministry of Health and Welfare (MHW) said yesterday.
According to the MHW, each year about 28 percent of deaths in Taiwan are related to cancer. The ministry will start promoting the third stage of its cancer prevention plan to help more people understand the importance of preventing the disease.
Based on the latest report from the International Agency for Research on Cancer of the World Health Organization, about 14 million people each year become cancer patients, a number that will double by 2030.
According to the Health Promotion Administration (HPA) of the MHW, the administration has been promoting a national cancer prevention plan since 2005.
The HPA said that the second stage of the administration's cancer prevention plan, from 2010 to 2013, focused on promoting screening for breast, cervical, colorectal and oral cancers.
This year, the plan has entered its third stage, the HPA said.
Wu Chien-yuan of the HPA said that in the first and second stages of the plan, the government focused on promoting the treatment and early detection of cancer.
"In the third stage of the plan, which will last between 2014 and 2018, we will focus on promoting the idea of cancer prevention and encourage people to undergo regular cancer screening," said Wu.
"There are some newly discovered factors that might lead to cancer, including obesity, diet and lack of exercise," said Wu. "Therefore, the HPA will work with local governments to promote plans to monitor and improve the diet and living habits of the public, especially children."
Wu said that colorectal cancer and oral cancer are the two cancers that can be prevented through regular screening, and Taiwan is the first country in the world to promote oral cancer screening nationally.
According to Wu, experts in Taiwan are also working with international cancer specialists to develop a modern screen marker.
Wu said that another plan, called the cancer patient navigation plan, will be implemented during the third stage of the national cancer prevention plan.
According to Wu, the cancer patient navigation plan's goal is to help doctors treat more patients. An expert will be assigned to a new cancer patient to take better care of them, hopefully increasing the survival rate for cancer patients.