Doctors once again warn of sharp rise in new cancer cases in Vietnam

By VnExpress   December 13, 2016 | 12:30 am PT
Doctors once again warn of sharp rise in new cancer cases in Vietnam
A patient receives chemotherapy treatment for breast cancer at a hospital. Photo by Reuters/Eric Gaillard
The country is dealing with the double whammy of infectious and non-infectious diseases, health experts say.

The number of new cancer diagnoses in Vietnam is forecast to hit 200,000 in 2020, nearly doubling from 126,000 cases in 2010, with health experts warning that the rise will add to the burden already weighing upon the healthcare system.

Speaking at a workshop in Hanoi on Monday, experts said the most common cancers among Vietnamese men are lung, prostate, colorectal, stomach, esophageal and liver cancer. Among women, the five most diagnosed cancers are breast, colorectal, lung, cervix and ovarian cancer.

It is estimated that between 2010 and 2020, esophageal cancer will see an alarming surge as the number of cases is expected to almost triple to 10,920.

Experts also estimated that the number of new lung cancer cases will increase by 1.56 times over the period to 23,000 cases while colorectal cancer cases will rise by 1.75 times.

In 2010, as many as 12,500 cases of female breast cancer were diagnosed, with 64.7 percent of the cases below age 50. The number is forecast to increase by 1.8 times to 22,612 cases in 2020. An estimated 2,185 Vietnamese women were diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2010 and the number is projected to double in 2020.

Vietnam, like many other developing countries, is dealing with the double burden of infectious and non-infectious diseases, said associate professor Luong Ngoc Khue, a senior health official.

Khue said among non-communicable diseases, cancers have emerged as an alarming problem.

Doctors said most cancers can be cured with early diagnosis and proper treatment.

According to the World Health Organization, more than a third of cancer deaths could be prevented by avoiding the five leading behavioral and dietary risks, including high body mass index, low fruit and vegetable intake, lack of physical activity, tobacco use, and alcohol use.

Under a new plan, people living in Hanoi aged 35 and older who have health insurance are eligible for free screenings for digestive cancers at the city's new high-tech center for digestive surgery.

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