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Liver cancer pushes lung cancer to second place in Vietnam

By Le Phuong   December 11, 2018 | 08:10 pm PT
Liver cancer pushes lung cancer to second place in Vietnam
Heavy beer and alcohol consumption contributes to the increasing liver cancer mortality rate among Vietnamese men. Photo by Shutterstock/Viiviien
Liver cancer has become the most common cancer in Vietnam for the first time in history, ahead of lung cancer.

Pham Xuan Dung, director of the HCMC Hospital of Oncology, cited a 2018 report by international cancer surveillance database GLOBOCAN, which says 25,335 people in Vietnam newly contracted liver cancer this year, and 25,404 died of it.

In comparison, 23,667 people newly contracted lung cancer and 20,701 died of the disease this year.

These figures show liver cancer overtaking lung cancer for the first time in history as the most common form of cancer in Vietnam, Dung said.

In October, another GLOBOCAN report said Vietnam ranked 4th worldwide in liver cancer fatality rate this year.

It also said that the liver cancer rate among the country’s male population was three times higher than among women, with 39 men out of 100,000 succumbing to the disease, third in the world behind Mongolia and Egypt.

Heavy smoking and alcohol abuse contribute to the increasing liver cancer mortality rate among Vietnamese men, health experts say.

Vietnam has among the world’s highest numbers of smokers. An estimated 15.6 million Vietnamese spend VND31 trillion ($1.36 billion) on cigarettes each year. As a major cause of lung cancer and cardiovascular diseases in the country, smoking costs VND23 trillion ($1 billion) in treatment and labor loss annually, according to the Ministry of Health.

Liquor consumption among Vietnamese has also reached alarming levels, with an adult above 15 years of age drinking 8.3 liters of alcohol per year on average, much higher than in China (7.2), Cambodia (6.7), the Philippines (6.6) and Singapore (2), according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

WHO also placed Vietnam at 78th out of 172 countries in the number of cancer patients worldwide this year.

According to WHO, liver cancer is among the five most common cancers and kills 782,000 people around the world every year.

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