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Survey reveals cervical cancer not understood

Survey reveals cervical cancer not understood

While cervical cancer remains the most common form of cancer among women in Taiwan, the majority of Taiwan women have little knowledge about the disease, according to the results of a survey released Thursday.
The survey was conducted by the Formosa Cancer Foundation in cooperation with the pharmaceutical firm GlaxoSmithKline in August on 1,081 women aged 16 and above. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.97 percentage points.
The survey found that 75 percent of the respondents were not aware that human papillomavirus infections are the major cause of cervical cancer.
Although 40 percent of the respondents knew that they should receive Pap smears regularly after they become sexually active, most of them did not have their first Pap smear until after the age of 35, with less then 20 percent receiving Pap smears before the age of 30, the survey showed.
Also, 70 percent of the women surveyed did not know that cervical cancer can be classified into several stages.
Cheng Wen-fang, a gynecologist and obstetrician at National Taiwan University Hospital, noted that the cure rate of cervical cancer reaches almost 100 percent if the disease is detected when it is still limited to surface cells.
When the cervical cancer has developed into an invasive one, the five-year survival rate for the cancer patients is 85 percent if it is diagnosed at stage I, Cheng said.
The five-year survival rate drops to 65 percent if the cancer is diagnosed at stage II, further to 50 percent if diagnosed at stage III, and further to 10 percent if diagnosed at stage IV, Cheng said.
Receiving cervical screening regularly will help in early diagnosis and treatment of the cancer, she said.
Lai Gi-ming, CEO of the Formosa Cancer Foundation, said although the survey found that 70 percent of the respondents had their first sexual experience between age of 15 and 29, only a low percentage received Pap smears before the age of 30, probably because the Department of Health only covers the cost of Pap smears for women aged 30 or above.
DOH tallies show that 50 percent to 60 percent of Taiwan women aged 30 or above have received Pap smears over the past three years.
More than 6,000 new cases of cervical cancer are reported in Taiwan every year, making it the most common form of cancer among Taiwan women. Meanwhile, approximately 1,000 women in Taiwan die from cervical cancer every year, according to the DOH.


Updated : 2021-04-13 23:02 GMT+08:00