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Hong Kong cancer therapy

Hong Kong records latest high of 30,318 new cancer cases, with colorectal cancer most common

Doctors say ageing population means current trend of increase will continue

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 24 October, 2017, 8:03pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 24 October, 2017, 11:49pm

The number of new cancer cases in Hong Kong rose by 2.4 per cent year on year to a historic high of 30,318 in 2015, with prostate cancer overtaking liver cancer as the fourth most common form of the disease, according to latest registry figures released on Tuesday.

Colorectal cancer remained the most common for the third consecutive year with 5,036 new cases recorded and 3,706 deaths, followed by lung cancer with 4,748 new cases, and 3,920 for breast cancer cases.

Overall, the increase in new cancer cases was mostly attributed to more incidences of prostate cancer and lymphoma in men, as well as lung and cervical cancer in women, the Hospital Authority report stated.

New cancer treatment could replace chemotherapy in 10 years, HKU expert claims

Dr Stephen Chan Lam, Chinese University’s associate professor in oncology, said the upward trend for the top three cancers in the city was expected to continue for the next 10 years.

In the past decade, the number of new cancer cases in the city rose at an average annual rate of 2.9 per cent, which corresponds with the rate of increase of those aged 65 or older in the population.

“Colorectal screening is now more common in the city and I believe more people will detect the condition earlier through these tests,” Chan said.

For prostate cancer, the number of new cases rose 7.1 per cent to 1,831 in 2015. Men beyond the age of 70 are most prone to this form of the disease.

Chan said that other than the rapidly greying population, easier detection because of advances in medical tests had also contributed to the surge in cases recorded.

Prostate cancer can now be screened through a blood test called prostate-specific antigen, and although it is not entirely accurate, it has led to early diagnosis in many patients.

While liver cancer has dropped to the fifth most common form of the disease, Chan reminded the public that the number of new cases did not drop significantly, standing at 1,791 for 2015.

The report also warned that Hong Kong would face an increasing health care burden in line with the rise in the number of cancer cases, if current demographic trends continue.