​A polluted river in Ung Hoa district of Hanoi (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) - The Ministry of Health has denied the existence of 10 so-called cancer villages, as their rates of cancer were found to be no higher than the national average. 

The Vietnam Health Environment Management Agency (VIHEMA) said that residents living in those villages had cancer rates ranging from 73 to 169 per 100,000 people. These numbers were no higher than the national cancer rates of 135 for women and 181 for men, per 100,000. 

"We have yet to see an abnormal cancer rate in the 10 villages being investigated," announced the VIHEMA last week.

The villages included Thong Nhat and Lung Vỵ in Hanoi, Man Xa in Bac Ninh Province, Tho Vỵ in Thanh Hoa Province, Yen Lao in Ha Nam Province, Co Do in Nghe An Province, and An Loc in Ha Tinh Province, together with Phuoc Thien in Quang Ngai Province, Xuan Vinh in Binh Dinh Province and Me Pu in Binh Thuan Province.

These villages were earlier dubbed "cancer villages" by the National Centre for Water Resources Planning and Investigation (NCWRPI) last year, following a nationwide investigation entitled "Search for hygienic water resources for Vietnam’s cancer villages". 

The cancers were thought to be caused by severe water pollution. 

The NCWRPI was expected to hand over its data to the VIHEMA for reassessment early next year, said the VIHEMA.-VNA