THUA THIEN HUE (VNS)— Viet Nam has experienced increasing proportions of cancer cases, but prevention and treatment could not be done effectively.
The situation was due to low awareness among residents and the capacity of healthcare facilities, experts said.
The country has an average of 130,000 cancer cases each year, announced a national conference on cancer held in central Hue City yesterday.
The rate could be 200,000 cases by 2020.
Figures by the World Health Organization showed that there are 12 million new cancer cases globally each year and seven million cancer deaths.
In developing countries, the number of cancer cases, including lung cancer in men, breast cancer in women and stomach cancer in both genders, is increasing sharply.
Assoc. Prof. Bui Dieu, director of Ha Noi-based K Hospital, said most patients appeared at cancer treatment hospitals during the final stage of cancer, preventing effective treatment.
Research done on 51,000 cancer profiles by Dieu and his associates pointed out that 71.4 per cent of the total check up with five per cent leaving cancer treatment at or after the third stage of cancer.
According to the Viet Nam Cancer Association, cancer prevention and treatment are challenging the country's health sector, as it could not deal with the overload of cancer patients at hospitals around the country.
It has only six public hospitals specializing in cancer treatment with their locations scattered in different regions, including K hospital in Ha Noi, Cancer Hospital in Da Nang, and Cancer and Tumour hospitals in HCM City and Can Tho.
Polyclinic hospitals in the other 37 provinces have cancer and tumour treatment departments. However, all of them are operating in facilities that lack proper conditions. Even the total sickbeds for the whole system could meet only 30 per cent of the demand, the conference heard.
The country has set up a national programme for cancer prevention and treatment for the years 2012 to 2015, aiming at increasing awareness on cancer for residents, training healthcare workers in cancer identification, and closely monitoring the cancer treatment system.
But experts wonder if it would take more time for the programme to reach targets because of the very difficult conditions that healthcare system is experiencing.
Experts at the conference said more investment in cancer prescription and treatment facilities as well as manpower is crucial for dealing with the increasing number of patients.
The conference, which was held by the Viet Nam Cancer Association, Hue Central Hospital and Hue Medical University, was attended by 400 doctors and experts from the US, Germany, Japan, Singapore and Taiwan. — VNS