Addressing Asia’s high cancer incidence

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Published: 13 Jul 2012
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Dr Bin Teh - SingHealth Group, Singapore

Dr Bin Teh talks about the problem of high cancer incidence in Asia and the efforts that are being made to reduce this. It is thought that Asia’s high cancer rates are linked to diet and the level of viral and parasitic infections among Asian populations.

Dr Teh explains how the screening programmes introduced to more developed Asian countries such as Japan and Korea have helped reduce cancer mortality, but warns that such preventative measures are not possible in poorer or less politically stable countries. In the absence of screening programmes, education is an effective way to reduce cancer incidence.

For example, cholangiocarcinoma bile duct cancer is a disease related to liver fluke parasitic infections and can be prevented by cooking fish before consumption. However, such behavioural changes take time to be accepted and other options, such as the identification of effective drugs which are out of patent, must be sought.

Filming supported by Amgen