Cancer remains top killer of Taiwanese

TAIWAN - For the 30th straight year, cancer remained the top cause of death in Taiwan in 2011, responsible for 28 per cent of all deaths recorded, a Department of Health (DOH) report said yesterday.

The No. 2 cause was heart disease (10.9 per cent), followed by cerebrovascular disease (7.1 per cent), diabetes (6 per cent) and pneumonia (6 per cent), according to the report, which said a total of 152,030 people died last year.

Rounding out the top 10 were accidents (4.4 per cent), chronic lower respiratory tract disease (3.9 per cent), chronic liver disease (3.4 per cent), hypertension (3 per cent) and kidney disease (2.9 per cent).

Suicide, which dropped out the top-10 list for the first time in 2010, ranked 12th last year, claiming 3,507 lives.

But suicide remained a top-10 cause of death among men and the elderly.

For young people and children aged 1 to 25, accidents was the top cause of the death.

The age-standardised death rate from all causes combined was 462.4 per 100,000 people per year, up 1.5 per cent from 2010 but down 17.2 per cent from 2009.

The average life expectancy was 76 years among men and 82.7 years among women, an increase of 1.9 years and 2.7 years, respectively, compared with 10 years ago.

In 2011, 42,559 people died from cancer, which translates into an average of one death every 12 minutes and 21 seconds, according to the report.

The age-standardised death rate for cancer was 132.2 per 100,000 people, up 0.5 per cent from 2010.

Lung cancer was the top cause of all cancer-related deaths, with 20 per cent, followed by liver cancer with 18.8 per cent, colorectal cancer with 11.6 per cent and breast cancer with 4.4 per cent.

The rest of the top-10 cancer killers were oral cancer (5.8 per cent), stomach cancer (5.4 per cent), prostate cancer (2.6 per cent), pancreatic cancer (3.8 per cent), esophageal cancer (3.5 per cent) and cervical cancer (1.6 per cent).

The report said men were almost twice as prone to contracting cancer than women.

Of the 42,559 people that died of cancer last year, 64 per cent were men and 36 per cent women.