HK women overtake men in cancer cases

Local | Mandy Zheng 22 Oct 2020

Hong Kong has registered a record high number of cancer cases, with over 34,000 new cases in 2018 and the fastest increase in women.

It is very likely that last year, more women were newly diagnosed than men for the first time, director of the Hospital Authority's cancer registry Wong Kam-hung said.

Wong attributed this trend to the city's changing population structure. Hong Kong's male-female ratio has been declining since the past two decades, down to 910 males per 1,000 females last year.

A total of 34,028 new cancer cases were recorded in 2018, a 2.9 percent year-on-year rise. There were an average of 93 confirmed cancer cases every day.

Of the new cases, 17,040 were in men and 16,988 in women, both increases from 2017. The difference was of 52 cases, compared to 677 the year before.

But among citizens aged 20 to 59, women were more likely to have cancer than men, as the incidence rates of female-specific cancers such as breast, cervix, corpus uteri and ovarian cancers were relatively high.

Breast cancer saw 4,645 new patients, rising by 5.8 percent - the sharpest increase among the top five cancers.

The growth of new patients in 2018 was mainly due to the rise in breast and corpus uteri cancer cases in women and bladder and pancreatic cancer cases in men, as well as thyroid cancer cases in both genders.

As for mortality rates, the city recorded 14,594 deaths from cancer in 2018, accounting for over 30.7 percent of deaths that year. Among them, some 58 percent were men.

The top three causes of cancer deaths were lung cancer, colorectal cancer and liver cancer, which accounted for more than half of all such mortalities.

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