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The Ministry of Health and Welfare Announces the 2013 Cancer Incidence Data; Colorectal Cancer Continues to Be on Top; Lesions Found in 1 Out of Every 21 People

  • Data Source:Ministry of Health and Welfare
  • Created:2016-04-15
  • Last Updated:2017-01-10

The Ministry of Health and Welfare Announces the 2013 Cancer Incidence Data; Colorectal Cancer Continues to Be on Top; Lesions Found in 1 Out of Every 21 People Between the Ages of 50 and 74 That Are Screened; People Are Encouraged to Quickly Undergo Screenings! 



The Cancer Clock Turns 1.5 Times Faster Than 10 Years Ago 
Based on the latest cancer registry report from the Health Promotion Administration, in 2013 the number of new cases of cancer was 99,143. The median age of incidence, 62, was the same as in 2012. The number of people grew by 2,449 compared to 2012. One person was diagnosed with cancer every 5 minutes and 18 seconds, 8 seconds faster than the previous year. Based on the crude incidence data, in 2013, 424 people were diagnosed with cancer for every 100,000 people; in other words, within 1 year, for every 236 people, 1 was diagnosed with cancer. However, the age-standardized incidence rate did not increase. In 2013, 299.7 people out of every 100,000 were found with cancer, a slight reduction of 0.3 people per 100,000 in comparison to 2012. Therefore, overall, the increase in the number of people with cancer is primarily related to the aging of the population. Looking in detail at sex and position, the age-standardized incidence of cancer among men was 340.1 people per 100,000, a decrease over the previous year. The primary reason for this was that the incidence of the main male cancers (colorectal cancer, liver cancer, lung cancer) has continued to slow. In contrast, the age-standardized incidence of cancer among women was 264.3 people per 100,000, a slight increase over the previous year. This was because the incidence of the most common cancer among women, breast cancer, continues to increase rapidly. Nevertheless, the incidence of colorectal cancer, liver cancer, and lung cancer among women also continues to decrease. 
Cancer was 1.3 times more likely to occur in men than in women, and the death rate of men was 1.8 times higher. The Health Promotion Administration’s analysis also indicates that men are less willing to undergo examinations. The colorectal cancer screening rate among men was lower than it was among women. Overall, the increase in the number of cancer patients and the incidence of breast cancer in woman is related to the aging of the population, the Westernization of lifestyles, the increase in the obese population, and the promotion of cancer screenings. In addition, air pollution and exposure to environmental hormones may also play certain roles. 
Colorectal cancer, lung cancer, liver cancer, and breast cancer were the most common types of cancer, occurring in more than 10,000 people 

The most common cancers in 2013 among Taiwanese people (both men and women) were the same as they were in 2012. In order, they were colorectal cancer, lung cancer, liver cancer, breast cancer, oral cancer (including oropharynx and hypopharynx), prostate cancer, stomach cancer, skin cancer, thyroid cancer, and esophageal cancer. The four leading cancers, colorectal cancer, lung cancer, liver cancer, and breast cancer, each occurred in more than 10,000 people, accounting for 50% of all cancer cases. Looking at men and women separately, the top 10 most common cancers for men were colorectal cancer, liver cancer, lung cancer, oral cancer (including oropharynx and hypopharynx), prostate cancer, esophageal cancer, stomach cancer, skin cancer, bladder, and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The top 10 most common cancers for women were breast cancer, colorectal cancer, lung cancer, liver cancer, thyroid cancer, uterine cancer, cervical cancer, skin cancer, ovarian cancer, and stomach cancer. The incidence of breast cancer, skin cancer, esophageal cancer, thyroid cancer, and ovarian cancer increased more significantly. 

Don’t be afraid of cancer, what screenings find is “great fortune”! 

The Health Promotion Administration analyzed the distribution of stages of screened cancers and found that in the case of colorectal cancer, 94.2% of the pathological changes found in screenings were precancerous lesions or stage 0-2 early lesions with excellent prognoses. However, among cancers not found through screenings, only 43.1% were in the early stages. Of the pathological changes found in breast cancer through screenings, 85.7% were stage 0-2 early cancer, whereas among those not found through screenings, only 56.0% were in the early stages. Of the pathological changes found in oral cancer through screenings, 73.8% were precancerous lesions or stage 0-1 early lesions, whereas among those not found through screenings, only 28.8% were in the early stages. Lesions found through screenings for cervical cancer were even better, with 97.5% being precancerous lesions or stage 0-1 early lesions. In contrast, only 44.4% of those not found through screenings were in the early stages. The prognoses differ substantially! 


People continue to believe numerous myths and misconceptions about cancer and screenings, substantially affecting the promotion of screenings. The Health Promotion Administration’s latest analysis indicates that the incidence and mortality rates of colorectal cancer were higher among men than they were among women. However, men’s screening rates were much lower than women’s! Director-General Chiou Shu-Ti pointed out in particular the myths that people believe with regard to colorectal cancer screenings and the correct views. For example, many people leave things to luck and believe that they couldn’t possibly be that unlucky. Actually, the truth is that colorectal lesions are extremely common. For every 21 people between the ages of 50 and 74 who are screened, 1 will be found with precancerous lesions or even cancer. Some people have an avoidant mindset, believing that because they don’t have symptoms, they are probably not ill and don’t need to go for checks. Sometimes, even with a positive screening, as many as 30% of people are unwilling to undergo colonoscopies, missing an excellent opportunity to find cancer early. Actually, the truth is that early lesions do not have symptoms. Going for screenings before symptoms appear is even more effective! You absolutely cannot wait until the late stages when you have symptoms, because by then it could be a missed opportunity for early treatment. In addition, for every two people who receive positive screenings but have no symptoms, one will have precancerous lesions or colorectal cancer. Positive screenings absolutely need to be diagnosed. Additionally, some people also have an ostrich mentality, thinking that cancer is incurable and that the situation is helpless even if you know. Therefore, they would rather not know. Actually, the truth is that the key to determining whether cancer is terminal is the time it is discovered. Of the pathological changes found through screenings, 94.2% are precancerous lesions or early cancer with a survival rate of nearly 100%. Therefore, don’t be afraid of knowing, be afraid of not knowing. 


Taiwan’s large-scale experience promoting fecal occult blood testing proves that colorectal cancer mortality rates can be decreased effectively. Chiou Shu-Ti, Director-General of the Health Promotion Administration, makes a special appeal 

1. Colorectal cancer lesions are extremely common. For every 21 people between the ages of 50 and 74 who are screened, 1 will be found to have precancerous lesions or even cancer. Do not underestimate your risk! 
2. The most common symptom for colorectal cancer (just like other chronic diseases) is no symptoms. Don’t mistakenly believe that you are sick only when you have symptoms and lose a life-saving opportunity for no reason. 
3. Screenings are effective! Screenings can find early lesions, with 94.2% of pathological changes found in colorectal cancer screenings being early changes that are nearly always completely treatable. People, especially the sheet-iron group of men between the ages of 50 and 74, are called on to undergo regular screenings to find and remove colorectal lesions early to maintain colorectal health! 
Luck alone is not enough for cancer prevention. Gain a new lease on life through the “four don’ts and three dos” 

The World Health Organizations indicates that smoking, alcohol, unhealthy diets, a lack of physical activity, and obesity are the main risk factors, accounting for 30% of cancer deaths. The top five cancers in Taiwan, colorectal cancer, liver cancer, lung cancer, breast cancer, and oral cancer, are all connected with the aforementioned carcinogenic factors. For example, the occurrence of lung cancer is substantially influenced by smoking and second-hand smoking. Oral cancer is closely connected to smoking, drinking, and chewing betel nut. Obesity, unhealthy diets, and a lack of exercise are the main carcinogenic factors in the high incidence of colorectal cancer and female breast cancer. What must be particularly noted is that based on Taiwan’s cancer registry analysis data, the overweight and obese are more likely to be diagnosed with uterine cancer, female breast cancer, thyroid cancer, liver cancer, prostate cancer, oral cancer, and colorectal cancer than those of normal weight and the underweight. In particular, the incidences of uterine cancer and breast cancer among the overweight and obese are 2.7 and 1.6 times greater than they are among those of normal weight and the underweight. People are recommended to weigh themselves every day. 
Bad habits are a major factor in the occurrence of cancer. Besides the aforementioned risk factors, aging, sex, genes, infections (such as hepatitis B and C and human papilloma virus), environmental factors (such as air pollution, occupational exposure, and environmental hormones) are also risk factors leading to cancer. Therefore, Chiou Shu-Ti, Director-General of the Health Promotion Administration, reminds everyone that to avoid the troubles of cancer, cancer prevention cannot rely only on luck. The “four don’ts and three dos” are the keys. Don’t smoke, chew betel nut, or drink alcohol, don’t grill red meat, don’t use heavy processed flavors, avoid environmental pollution, eat natural fruits and vegetables, exercise more, and undergo regular screenings. Only a multi-pronged approach can win you a new lease on life.