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Number of new patients suffering from cancer on the rise in Taiwan

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- More than 92,000 people, or one in 251 residents of Taiwan, were diagnosed with cancer in 2011, an increase of more than 2,000 from the previous year, according to figures released by the Health Promotion Administration (HPA) Tuesday.

For the sixth year in a row, colon cancer topped the list of the most commonly seen cancers in Taiwan.

In 2011, the latest year for which figures are available, the number of new cancer patients increased by 2,033 to 92,682, meaning that one person was diagnosed with the life threatening disease every 5 minutes and 40 seconds, the HPA report showed.

This was 8 seconds faster than in 2010 and 30 percent faster than 2002, when one person was diagnosed every 8 minutes, 15 seconds.

The median age of cancer patients in 2011 was 62, the same as the previous year. The incidence rate of cancer among men was 1.3 times higher than among women.

The top 10 cancers in 2011 remained the same as in 2010. They were colon cancer, liver cancer, lung cancer, breast cancer, oral cancer, prostate cancer, stomach cancer, skin cancer, corpus uteri cancer and cervical cancer, in that order.

There were 14,087 new colon cancer cases in 2011, and the number of new breast cancer cases topped the 10,000-mark for the first time at 10,056, the HPA said.

HPA Director-General Chiou Shu-ti said that in addition to smoking, drinking alcohol and chewing betel nuts, other factors that can increase the risk of cancer include being overweight, an unhealthy diet and insufficient exercise.

Citing data from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Chiou said people in Taiwan consume more meat and oil in their diets than people in other Asian countries, which may be one of the main reasons behind the increasing prevalence of obesity and cancer in Taiwan.

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