There was one new cancer case diagnosed in Taiwan every 5 minutes 26 seconds in 2012, the latest year for statistics, according to the Ministry of Health and Welfare. That’s 14 seconds faster than in 2011.
There were 96,694 cases diagnosed in 2012, and the median age of cancer patients was 62. The diagnosis rates for all cancers other than liver and stomach cancers increased in the year. On the bright side, the five-year survival rate for early cases has improved by 7%.
The ministry said that the increase in cancer cases in Taiwan was due to the aging population, lifestyle changes, population growth, and obesity, as well as cancer screening promotion and accessibility. Citizens are reminded to have regular cancer screenings.
Air pollution is partly to blame for the increase in cancer cases. Despite an improving AQI last year, Chuang Kai-jen, an associate professor from the School of Public Health at Taipei Medical University, said that PM2.5 exposure is worse for citizens who walk around Taipei rather than taking the MRT. Chuang advised either taking the MRT more often or wearing an appropriate pollution mask.
Only 66% of motorcycles and scooters in Taiwan underwent emissions tests last year, according to EPA statistics. Heftier fines and enforcement could improve maintenance of motorbike exhaust systems and reduce pollution.