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Experts call for more cancer screenings

Update: December, 12/2012 - 10:36

 

A doctor examines a woman for cervical cancer. Early detection is being urged to reduce the number of late-stage diagnoses in Viet Nam.—VNA/VNS Photo Duong Ngoc
HCM CITY (VNS)— Screening and health education programmes for the most common cancers should be expanded in Viet Nam to reduce the number of late-stage diagnoses, health experts have recommended.

Many people are diagnosed for the first time at stages III and IV because of a lack of understanding about cancer issues, including warning signs of the disease and available treatment methods.

Incorrect diagnoses given at health clinics at the grassroots level were also cited as another possible cause for diagnoses at late stages.

Le Hoang Minh, head of the HCM City Hospital for Oncology, said there had been a year-on-year increase in the number of cancer cases between 2006 and 2010, with a total of 31,660 cases in HCM City.

Lung, liver, colon and rectum, stomach and nasopharynx cancers were the most common cancers found in men. Breast, cervix, colon and rectum, lung and thyroid were the most common among women.

Minh said there had been a significant increase in recent years in the incidence of lung, colorectal, thyroid and female breast cancers.

Under the age of 14, leukemia was the most common cancer in both sexes. Thyroid cancer often occurs between the ages of 15 and 34.

After the age of 40, the rate of the most common cancers begins to rise. Skin cancer is more common after the age of 65, Minh said.

He said the number of cancer patients at the Hospital for Oncology had been increasing an average of 10 per cent year-on-year in recent years.

This year, the hospital has had 20,000 patients, with 70 per cent of patients coming from neighbouring provinces.

At the conference, Bui Dieu and Nguyen Thi Hoai Nga of K Hospital in Ha Noi presented the results of their 2009 survey on 51,625 cancer patients at K Hospital, Ha Noi Oncology Hospital, Bach Mai Hospital, Viet-Tiep Hospital and Hue Central Hospital.

At least 71 per cent of cancer patients surveyed were treated in the late stages of cancer, with nearly 88 per cent of liver cancers treated in those stages.

Many of these patients could have lived longer if they had been treated at an earlier stage, the doctors said.

This year, the Government allocated more money for cancer prevention and new facilities for cancer treatment in many cities, including Hai Phong and Da Nang, and in Nghe An and Bac Lieu provinces. In addition, the HCM City Hospital for Oncology now has a satellite ward at District 2's Hospital.

Many advanced technologies in treatment have been applied to improve the quality of life for patients, according to Minh.

For example, reconstructive and microscopic surgeries are being performed at the HCM City Hospital for Oncology.

The conference was organised by the Oncology Hospital in co-operation with the Viet Nam and HCM City Oncology Society. — VNS

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