Health-pro­mo­tion of­fi­cials say not treat­ing di­ag­nosed can­cers presents a big risk

The China Post - - LOCAL -

The Health Pro­mo­tion Ad­min­is­tra­tion (HPA) on Fri­day urged peo­ple di­ag­nosed with can­cer in Tai­wan to get treat­ment im­me­di­ately, warn­ing that putting it off for even three months could in­crease the dis­ease’s mor­tal­ity rate dra­mat­i­cally.

In one of sev­eral health brief­ings mark­ing World Hep­ati­tis Day on July 28, HPA Can­cer Preven­tion and Con­trol Group Di­rec­tor Wu Chien-yuan ( ) said 18 per­cent of all can­cer pa­tients do not get treat­ment within three months of their di­ag­no­sis.

The one-year mor­tal­ity rate for these cases is 53 per­cent, com­pared with a mor­tal­ity rate of 17 per­cent for pa­tients who re­ceive treat­ment im­me­di­ately, said Wu, cit­ing the re­sults of a 2012 sur­vey on can­cer that were re­leased in May.

In the case of liver can­cer, fail­ing to get treat­ment in the first three months af­ter di­ag­no­sis re­sults in a one-year mor­tal­ity rate of 34 per­cent.

The sur­vey, which of­fers the most re­cent de­tailed pic­ture of can­cer trends in Tai­wan, found that 40 per­cent of those di­ag­nosed with the dis­ease by­passed treat­ment be­cause they were old and did not think it was nec­es­sary.

Another 30 per­cent opted against treat­ment be­cause of a fear of surgery and side ef­fects from chemo­ther­apy, and 14 per­cent cited con­cerns that the process would place an un­due fi­nan­cial bur­den on their fam­i­lies.

In ac­tual prac­tice, Wu said, about 70 per­cent of all pa­tients who dis­con­tinue can­cer treat­ment do so out of con­cern for the po­ten­tial side ef­fects.

HPA Di­rec­tor- Gen­eral Chiou Shu-ti ( ) said that with the cur­rent ad­vances in medicine, can­cer does not have to be scary, and that putting off treat­ment is in fact the true killer.

To raise greater aware­ness of can­cer treat­ment, the HPA launched the Can­cer Pa­tient Nav­i­ga­tion Pro­gram ( ) in 2014, in which more than 80 hos­pi­tals are cur­rently par­tic­i­pat­ing.

It pro­vides can­cer pa­tients with mul­ti­ple av­enues of care, in­clud­ing fi­nan­cial sup­port, med­i­cal ad­vice and in­for­ma­tion, as well as im­me­di­ate med­i­cal care.

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