Concern about growing cancer risks for women

The Hong Kong Cancer Registry said women could soon overtake men in new cancer cases.

The registry sounded the warning on Monday as it reported a record number of people who were diagnosed with cancer in 2019.

There were more than 35,000 new cancer cases in Hong Kong two years ago, an increase of some 3 percent from 2018.

The director of the Hong Kong Cancer Registry, Wong Kam-hung, said the rise in new cases is linked to the city’s ageing population.

He also noted that the cancer risk continues to increase for women, when the trend for men is stabilising.

“We know that there are many factors, like lifestyle change and obesity, but the exact causes need further investigation, especially by means of epidemiological studies and/or supplemented by some laboratory tests to find out the exact factor that leads to the increase in risk to get cancer in women,” he said.

The latest data also showed that lung cancer has become the most common cancer among new patients, taking the top spot from colorectal cancer.

Wong noted a decrease in new colorectal cancer cases in 2019 may be linked to the implementation of the government’s screening scheme since 2016.

“If we can copy the experience from the United States… The United States has already implemented this kind of screening programs for many years, and we found that the incidence has declined significantly over the past decades,” he said.

“I hope that our Hong Kong society can have such kind of good results from the screening programme.”