Hong Kong cancer cases are rising
Cancer is a leading cause of death worldwide, killing over 9.6 million people in 2018. More alarmingly, this figure is expected to rise by 80% in developing countries and 40% in developed countries by 2030, according to the WHO. The financial hub of Asia is no exception to this trend as there are rising cancer cases in Hong Kong.
In this article by Pacific Prime Hong Kong, we will explore the rising cancer numbers in Hong Kong, investigate its root causes, and look at the ways you can best protect yourself from these malignant tumors.
Rising cancer cases in Hong Kong
Let’s get straight into the details about the rising cancer numbers in Hong Kong. Cancer is the number one killer in Hong Kong. The disease alone is responsible for more than one in every three deaths in the city, rising by 1.5% over the past decade.
But there’s a more worrying figure. Only two years ago, the Hong Kong Cancer Registry reported 33,075 new cases, a 5.1% rise from the previous year, marking a significant (and worrying) increase when compared to the past ten years.
To put these numbers into perspective, one in every four men will suffer from cancer by the age of 75. For women, there is a one in five chance that they will suffer from cancer.
According to the Hong Kong Cancer Registry, the most common types of cancer in Hong Kong are:
- Colorectal cancer: 33,075 cases
- Lung cancer: 5,178 cases
- Breast: 2,723 cases
- Prostate: 1,205 cases
These numbers are projected to increase by a whopping 35% in only 10 years, increasing from 33,075 cases in 2017 to 42,000 cases in 2030. This alarming projection amplifies the level of seriousness of cancer as a public health issue in Hong Kong.
Cancer survival rates are improving
There’s a silver lining amid the worrying cancer statistics in Hong Kong. Survival rates of cancer patients have been gradually improving in the city. For instance, the survival rate for the most common type of cancer in Hong Kong, colorectal cancer, is currently at 65%. However, the survival rate of each type of cancer will depend on the severity of the patient’s condition as well as how early the cancer is detected.
For example, the five-year survival rate for prostate cancer in men is nearly 100%. However, if it spreads to other parts of the body, the survival rate plunges down to only 30%.
Early warning signs
From the rising cancer cases in Hong Kong, it is important that you know the warning signs of the four most common types of cancers found in the city.
Description: Colon cancer begins in the large intestine (colon) and typically affects older adults, though it can happen at any age.
Early symptoms: Rectal bleeding or blood in your stool, persistent abdominal discomfort, a feeling that your bowel doesn’t empty completely, weakness or fatigue, unexplained weight loss, a persistent change in your bowel habits.
Description: Signs of lung cancer may not be visible until the cancer has already reached an advanced stage.
Early symptoms: In cases where lung cancer does have early signs, these symptoms include persistent coughing, chest pain that gets worse with deep breathing, unexplained loss of appetite and weight, coughing up blood, shortness of breath, bronchitis, and wheezing.
Description: Breast cancer is the most common cancer for women in Hong Kong. Thanks to increasing awareness of breast cancer leading to more early detections, the five-year survival rate of people with breast cancer is now up to 90%.
Early symptoms: Lumps inside the breast or underarm area, changes in breast size and shape, pain in a specific area, prominent veins on the surface of the breast, nipple discharges that start suddenly, sore or rash on the nipple, and swelling of the breast.
Description: Prostate cancer is the third most common type of cancer found in Hong Kong men, with 2,240 cases reported in 2018, making up 6.8% of all cancer cases last year. Prostate cancer develops when cells in the male’s prostate gland begin to grow in an uncontrolled way.
Early symptoms: Unfortunately, there are no early signs of prostate cancer. So make sure that you go for a health check-up in Hong Kong regularly so that prostate cancer can be treated while still at an early stage if it is detected.
How to protect yourself
The best way to protect yourself from the health threats of cancer is to detect the malignant tumors as soon as possible. This means that you should go to regular health check-ups in Hong Kong to make sure that your body is free of these harmful cells.
When cancer is detected at an early stage, treatment can be more targeted to a smaller area in the body before the cancer spreads into the bloodstream and to other areas of the body. Overall, this makes for a more successful treatment process which significantly increases the chances of survival for cancer patients. For example, the 5-year survival rate of women with cervical cancer is at 90% for those who are diagnosed before the cancer spreads to other parts of the body. However, if detected at an advanced stage, the survival rate of women with cervical cancer is only at 15%.
However, the cost of getting a thorough health check-up in Hong Kong can cost as much as HKD $16,000, making it an expensive bill you’ll have to pay every single year. Fortunately, most comprehensive health insurance plans will cover for a proportion, or in some cases, the total cost of getting a health screening in Hong Kong.
To find the best private health insurance policy in Hong Kong, our advisors at Pacific Prime are available to offer you international health insurance advice at no extra charge. As a global health insurance broker, we partner with the top international insurance companies in Hong Kong to offer our clients a wide variety of plans, including pre-existing condition insurance and hospital insurance.
In his free time, Phuwit enjoys reading and playing badminton. He also loves a good cup of coffee.
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