A cancer patient under treatment (Source: VNA)
Hanoi (VNA) – Some 74.3 percent of the total burden of disease in Vietnam was caused by non-communicable diseases (NCDs) with cancer among the top ten causes, said Deputy Minister of Health Pham Le Tuan on April 12.

He made the statement at a seminar on cancer and health care financing organised by the Ministry of Health in Hanoi on the same day.

The seminar aims to discuss ways to help patients get better access to effective cancer treatment with lowest costs, reducing economic burdens on their families and health insurance fund.

Tuan quoted reports by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as saying that cancer is among the leading causes of morbidity and mortality worldwide, with approximately 14.1 million new cases and 8.2 million cancer related deaths each year. More than two thirds of all cancer deaths occur in low and middle-income countries.

In Vietnam, it is estimated that about 150,000 people are newly diagnosed with cancer and more than 75,000 die of the disease every year, he said.

Among men, the ten most common sites of cancer are lung, prostate, colon, stomach, liver, oesophagus, pharynx, blood, bladder and lymphoma while among women are breast, colon, lung, cervix, stomach, liver, blood, thyroid, ovary and lymphoma.

The costs of treating just six common cancers – breast, ovary, liver, colon, stomach and pharynx accounted for 0.22 percent of the country’s GDP in 2012, the deputy minister added.

High-quality treatment of cancer can only be sought at central-level hospitals. Moreover, treatment has focused largely on cancer patients’ physical health status while less emphasis has been placed on mental health issues.

According to the Cancer Centre at Bach Mai Hospital, a survey shows primary economic factors that challenge cancer patients include low income, poor educational attainment and no health insurance.

During the seminar, attendees also discussed costs for cancer treatment in Vietnam, health insurance claims for cancer patients and current global treatment trends.-VNA