Vietnam ranks 4th in liver cancer fatality rate

By Nguyen Quy   October 7, 2018 | 07:22 pm PT
Vietnam ranks 4th in liver cancer fatality rate
Men drink beer at a restaurant in Hanoi in a file photo by Reuters. Alcohol abuse contributes to increasing rate of liver cancer among Vietnamese male patients, doctors said.
On average, 23 people per 100,000 die of liver cancer in Vietnam, among the highest rates in the world.

A report by the World Cancer Research Fund International, a leading organization on cancer-prevention research related to diet, nutrition and physical activity, ranks Vietnam fourth among 25 countries with the highest rates of liver cancer this year.

The report is based on the latest statistics from Globocan, an interactive web-based platform with cancer statistics from 185 countries.

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

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

The International Agency for research on cancer has put beer and alcohol among the top factors in liver cancer deaths.

Vietnam has one of the world's heaviest drinking populations.

Shin Young-soo, the World Health Organization (WHO)’s regional director for the Western Pacific region, said beer consumption among Vietnamese has reached an alarming rate. He said a Vietnamese adult above 15 years of age drinks 8.3 liters of pure alcohol per year on average, much higher than in China (7.2 liters), Cambodia (6.7), the Philippines (6.6), and Singapore (2).

A new ranking published last month by WHO has placed Vietnam at 78th out of 172 countries in the number of cancer patients worldwide, with 165,000 new cases diagnosed in 2018.

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

Nguyen Chan Hung, head of the Vietnam Cancer Association, said diagnosis and treatment of cancer only occur in the latter stages in over 88 percent of cases when the chances of curing have greatly decreased.

Viral hepatitis B and C infections are the major causes of liver cirrhosis and liver cancer in Vietnam.

Vietnam, with a population of some 95 million, currently has 7.8 million hepatitis B and 991,000 hepatitis C patients, according to the health ministry.

Among the hepatitis B patients, over 51,000 suffer from cirrhosis and more than 14,000 others from liver cancer. Among the hepatitis C patients, over 13,000 suffer from cirrhosis and nearly 6,000 from liver cancer.

Viral hepatitis B and C are highly infectious, often transmitted through blood and unprotected sexual intercourse.

Symptoms include tiredness, loss of appetite, trouble sleeping and unusually yellow urine.

go to top