In Vietnam, cancer killing 18 times more people than traffic accidents

By Le Nga   April 8, 2023 | 10:30 pm PT
In Vietnam, cancer killing 18 times more people than traffic accidents
A doctor takes care of a cancer patient at the K Hospital in Hanoi in 2022. Photo by VnExpress/Chi Le
The number of cancer patients in Vietnam has increased much higher from the past and cancer deaths are many times more than those caused by traffic accidents, according to the Ministry of Health.

Around 354,000 Vietnamese are currently under cancer treatment and many only found it out in the final stages, health officials said at a meeting Saturday.

Every year, Vietnam records 182,000 new cases of cancer, while 122,000 people die, which is 18 times higher than deaths from traffic accidents, Deputy Minister of Health Tran Van Thuan said.

"About 354,000 people currently have cancer," said Thuan, adding that for every 100,000 Vietnamese people, 159 are diagnosed with cancer and 106 are killed by the disease.

He said the number of cancer patients in Vietnam "has kept increasing and is much higher compared to 30 years ago," without revealing the figure in 1993.

The 10 most common cancers among Vietnamese patients are liver, lung, breast, stomach, colon, rectum, leukemia, prostate, nasopharynx and thyroid.

Despite many medical advances in screening, early detection, diagnosis and treatment, many patients only came to the clinic when their cancer had reached a late stage, causing a high mortality rate, said Thuan.

"People should have regular health check-ups, especially after the age of 35," he advised. "Early detection can completely eliminate many diseases."

"The main factor affecting the cure rate of cancer is early detection, and the survival possibility would depend on many other factors such as the stage of the disease, response to treatment, and a combination of methods," he said.

Cancer treatment must combine many methods such as surgery, radiation, chemotherapy and immunotherapy.

Among them, immunity is a promising new therapy and many patients recover from cancer thanks to this "weapon," said the deputy minister.

He went on to say that Vietnam's disease pattern has changed a lot these days as non-communicable diseases tend to increase, while infectious diseases have decreased.

Recently, the four non-communicable diseases which have affected more patients and are the leading causes of death are cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer and mental disorders.

Thuan said that 80% of the causes of death in humans in Vietnam these days are non-communicable diseases.

He said those diseases have increased due to several reasons related to diet, pollution, and a lack of physical exercise.

He called people to walk more, stop smoking, and to follow a healthy diet by eating more vegetables, grain and protein.

According to the World Health Organization, every year, there are nearly 20 million new cases of cancer globally and more than 10 million deaths from the disease, and two-thirds of patients are in developing countries.

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