Air pollution, but also unhealthy lifestyles are to blame for rising cancer rates
It is shocking to read in the news today that cancer is claiming 18 percent more lives in Hong Kong than a decade ago. This means the number of cancer patients has grown 27 percent in the last 10 years, an annual rate of 2.5 percent, according to Department of Health and Hospital Authority data.
The five most commonly diagnosed cancers, which account for 60 percent of all new cases are: lung, colorectal, breast, liver and prostate.
Today is World Cancer Day with the tagline "Not Beyond Us", in the hopes of spreading an optimistic message that if people change their lifestyles into more healthier ones, they will have a higher chance of preventing a cancer diagnosis.
However no matter how many times doctors and health experts preach to the public about the importance of eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly and getting health check ups, not many seem to take heed.
There are still many people, particularly women, who would rather drink a potion than exercise for 20 minutes, or they constantly cite the excuse of not having enough time to hit the gym.
We wonder if these alarming statistics will encourage people, particularly those who have seen cancer cases in their own family histories, to actually try to change their situation.
The incidence of cancer in Hong Kong is rising at a faster pace, with a new record of 27,848 cases in 2012 -- an increase of 27 percent -- compared to 2002, according to the Hospital Authority's Hong Kong Cancer Registry update last November.
Most of the increases are in female patients, who are contracting cancers in lung, uterus and breast.
Lung cancer has overtaken colorectal cancer in top spot this year, and Dr Daniel Chua Tsin-tien, associate director at Hong Kong Sanatorium and Hospital's department of radiotherapy, says breast and colorectal cancer will continue to have high rates in Hong Kong because of people smoking and eating more red meat.
Will the government consider raising taxes for cigarettes, but more importantly begin clamping down severely on those polluting the air we breathe? Surely the government does not want to have a a health care breakdown because of the ever growing cancer cases that in all honesty impact the city's productivity?
It's long overdue for the government to be more pro-active about preventative healthcare. Surely healthy taxpayers than those draining resources would be in the government's best interests?