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Cancer remains leading cause of death in Taiwan for 40th year

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Top 10 Leading Causes of Death in 2021

Taipei, June 30 (CNA) Cancer was the leading cause of death in Taiwan in 2021, continuing a trend that has prevailed in the country for the past 40 years, the Ministry of Health and Welfare (MOHW) reported Thursday.

Last year, 51,656, or 28 percent of the total 184,172 deaths in Taiwan were caused by cancer, the most deadly variety of which was tracheal, bronchus, and lung cancer, the ministry's statistics showed.

Following cancer, the most common causes of death were heart disease, pneumonia, cerebrovascular disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, accidents or unintentional injuries, chronic lower respiratory diseases, nephritic syndrome and liver disease, in that order, the data showed.

Overall, the 2021 mortality rate of 784.8 deaths per 100,000 people was 6.9 percent higher than 2020 but still the second-lowest on record, while the median age at death was 77 years, according to the MOHW.

The ministry said the rise in mortality relative to 2020 was mainly driven by population aging, and to a lesser extent by an extended cold snap in January 2021 and COVID-19.

Compared to 2020, deaths from pneumonia decreased by 1.4 percent, while deaths from high blood pressure, diabetes and chronic lower respiratory diseases rose by 17.6 percent, 11.0 percent and 10.3 percent, respectively.

COVID-19, which caused 896 deaths in 2021, ranked as the 19th most common cause of death, the ministry said.

In terms of age groups, accidents and unintentional injuries were the leading cause of death for people aged 0-24, while cancer and suicide ranked first and second for people aged 25-44, and cancer and heart disease were most common for those aged 45 and above.

The ministry advised members of the public to keep up to date with recommended cancer screenings in order to reduce the risk of death from the disease.

Women aged 30 and above should undergo yearly screening for cervical cancer, while those aged 45-69 should get a mammogram every two years, the ministry said.

Similarly, people aged 50-74 should get a fecal occult blood test every two years to check for bowel cancer, and current and former smokers or betel nut users aged 30 and above should undergo biennial oral cancer screenings, the MOHW said.


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