Saturday, July 11, 2009

Cancer top threat to human life: Ministry

Photo: Chuck Kuhn Photography

VietNamNet Bridge - Nearly 200,000 Vietnamese will contract cancer and 100,000 will die of the disease during this and next year, making it the biggest threat to public health, among non-contagious diseases, warned the Ministry of Health.

The warning was annouced at a meeting in Hanoi on July 8 to review one year of implementing the national goals on cancer prevention and treatment and to discuss plans for 2009-2010.

Deputy Minister Nguyen Thi Xuyen said at that the project was first started in 2008 to promote cancer prevention and treatment at local medical centres to gradually reduce mortality rates and improve the living conditions of cancer patients.

The Deputy Director of the Tumours and Cancers Hospital Dr. Tran Van Thuan said that recent surveys have shown poor public awareness of the disease as well as obsolete technical infrastructure at major hospitals in all 63 provinces and cities.

Out of 12,050 people surveyed in 12 provinces and cities, only 35 percent gave the correct answers. 67.2 percent said cancer is incurable so early or late diagnosis doesn’t make any difference, and 35.8 percent believed that surgery makes cancer grow faster and actually hastesn a patient’s death.

Nine out of 63 major hospitals at the provincial level in the survey have not yet set up a department of oncology and 10 others have refused to treat cancer patients at all.

This is a major cause of the increasing number of cancer patients, and deaths, in Vietnam, he emphasised.

To cope with the problem, the project is designed to help all pilot provinces and cities to launch information and education campaigns to raise public awareness of the disease at a local level.

It has also set a target of providing medical check-ups for the early diagnosis of breast and uterine cancers for 50,000 women in the high-risk age group. Surveys on cancer at communal level will be conducted in the central city of Danang and the southern province of Kien Giang .

Over the past year, the project has helped to set up five additional tumour and cancer departments at hospitals in five provinces, four in the north and one in the central region.

In addition, over 31,500 women in the high risk age group between 30 and 54 have undergone medical check-ups for breast and uterine cancers.

The project has also helped to set up a model of community-based medical treatments for cancer patients in a critical condition in Hanoi and the central province of Thua Thien-Hue . The Cancer and Tumour Hospital in Ho Chi Minh City has opened a department to manage pain and track the development of cancers under the project.

Breast and uterine cancers affected 27.3 women out of every 100,000 people in the north and 17.1 of every 100,000 in the south.

For men, lung and stomach cancers are the biggest threat.


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