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Public urged to support World Cancer Day 2018
     The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health today (February 2) urged the public to support World Cancer Day 2018 in the global fight against cancer through following a healthy lifestyle and early detection of disease.

     World Cancer Day has been designated for February 4 every year by the Union for International Cancer Control since 2000 to increase community understanding of challenges posed by cancer and to unite the global population in the fight against cancer.

     Under the theme "We can, I can", World Cancer Day 2018 explores how everyone - as a collective or as individuals - can do their part to reduce the global burden of cancer on individuals, families and communities.

     In 2015, 30 318 new cancer cases were reported in Hong Kong and the five most commonly diagnosed cancers were colorectal cancer, lung cancer, breast cancer, prostate cancer and liver cancer. Cancer is the leading cause of death locally, taking the lives of 14 209 people in 2016.

     A spokesman for the CHP said, "About 40 per cent of cancer cases are preventable by adopting a healthy lifestyle and avoiding major risk factors including tobacco, being overweight or obese, alcohol, unhealthy diet and lack of physical activity."

     Smoking is the single most important risk factor for cancer. While 90 per cent of lung cancers are found to be attributed to tobacco, smoking can also cause many other cancers such as oral cancer, oesophageal cancer and colorectal cancer. Being overweight or obese can increase the risk of 11 cancers and alcoholic beverages are classified as a Group 1 carcinogen by the World Health Organization.

     To prevent and reduce the risk of cancer, individuals should refrain from smoking and drinking alcohol, be physically active, have a balanced diet, maintain an optimal weight and waist circumference, practise safer sex, avoid the use of UV-emitting appliances for tanning or other non-medical purposes, and observe occupational safety to reduce exposure to cancer-causing substances in the workplace.

     "We urge the public to be cancer aware. Know the causes and risk factors so that appropriate precautions can be taken to modify or avoid them. Report any unusual changes to your doctor for early diagnosis and treatment. Use appropriate and evidence-based screening tests for detection of early cancer or pre-cancerous conditions. This usually requires first talking to a doctor who will provide information about the accuracy, reliability, limitations, benefits and potential risks of the screening test before making an informed decision to undergo screening or not," the spokesman advised.

     The Government in September 2016 launched a three-year Colorectal Cancer Screening Pilot Programme to subsidise asymptomatic Hong Kong residents born from 1946 to 1955 to undergo colorectal cancer screening tests under public-private partnership.

     A territory-wide Cervical Screening Programme, which was launched in collaboration with healthcare professionals in the public, private and non-government sectors, has been in place since 2004 to encourage women aged 25 to 64 who have ever had sex to receive regular cervical cancer screening every three years after two normal consecutive annual screens. Women aged 65 or above who have not received routine screening in the past 10 years should also be screened, even if they have completed their family, reached menopause, or have abstained from sex for some time.

     In December 13 last year, a three-year pilot scheme was also launched under the Community Care Fund to provide free or subsidised cervical cancer screening and preventive education for eligible low-income women. 

     For more information, the public may visit the dedicated websites of the Colorectal Cancer Screening Pilot Programme (www.colonscreen.gov.hk) and the Cervical Screening Programme (www.cervicalscreening.gov.hk). Health advice on the prevention of various kinds of cancer is also available the CHP's cancer webpage.
Ends/Friday, February 2, 2018
Issued at HKT 11:10
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