Doctors: southern Taiwan's rate of bladder cancer 3 times higher than rest of country

Tainted groundwater, dirty air, unsafe herbs create higher risk for bladder cancer in southern Taiwan


TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Over three times as many cases of bladder cancer are diagnosed every year in southern Taiwan than the rest of the island, and doctors speculate the trend can be explained by three dangerous factors: herbs, water, and air.

Doctors suggest that people in southern Taiwan; over-ingest aristolochic acid, an acid found in Chinese medicine; deal with higher levels of arsenic found in ground water; and suffer from more air pollution, at much higher levels than other regions in Taiwan, according to CNA.

Data from the Ministry of Health and Welfare states that on average 3,709 cases of urinary-related cancers are diagnosed a year in Taiwan, including kidney cancer, ureteral cancer, urothelial cancer, and bladder cancer. Bladder cancer accounts for 60 percent of those cases and is predominately found in men.

On average in the remainder of Taiwan, 6.9 people out of 10,000 will be diagnosed with urinary cancer but in southern Taiwan the odds increase to 27.3 people out of 10,000.

The majority of southern cancer sufferers are over 60 and doctors attribute that to older people having consumed the arsenic found in the groundwater for a longer period of time.

Further, as confirmed by the World Health Organization (WHO), the presence of over 2.5 pm atmosphere aerosol particles in the air from pollution, which is common in the south as well as in the north, increases the risk of lung and urinary cancer.