Taipei, June 16 (CNA) Cancer was the leading cause of death in Taiwan in 2019, a trend that has prevailed in the country for the past 38 years, the Ministry of Health and Welfare (MOHW) reported Tuesday.
Last year, 50,232 of the 175,424 citizens who died in Taiwan, or 28.6 percent, died of cancer, indicating a death rate of 212.9 per 100,000 persons, up 1.8 percent from the previous year, the ministry's statistics showed.
For the 38th straight year, cancer accounted for the highest percentage of deaths in the country in 2019, followed by cardiovascular disease, pneumonia, cerebrovascular disease, diabetes, accidents, chronic lower respiratory diseases, high blood pressure, nephrotic syndrome and liver disease, in that order, same as the previous year, the data showed.
Among those who died of cancer in Taiwan last year, 85 percent were over the age of 55, according to the MOHW.
At the same time, Taiwan's circadian clock for cancer continued to run faster in 2019, registering a new death for every 10 minutes and 27 seconds, 12 seconds faster than in 2018, the data indicated.
Overall, 72.7 percent of the 175,424 deaths last year were among people over the age of 65, while 21.6 percent were in the 45-64 age group, the statistics showed.
The data also indicated an increase in the total number of deaths from pneumonia, nephrotic syndrome and high blood pressure.
Meanwhile, accidents were the main cause of death among children aged 1-14 in 2019, followed by cancer, congenital malformations and chromosomal abnormalities, flu and homicide, according to the MOHW.
Kuo Tsai-yung, deputy director-general of the ministry's Department of Protective Services, told CNA that nine children under the age of 18 died last year because of physical abuse, 12 were "killed by suicidal parents," and three as a result of abuse by caregivers or at daycare centers.
On the issue of suicide, the MOHW data showed 3,864 such deaths in Taiwan last year, which was the 11th highest cause of death among Taiwanese.
By age, there were 956 suicides among people over the age of 65, and 267 in the under-25 age group in 2019, the ministry's data showed.
At Tuesday's news conference, Shen Lih-Jong, director-general of the ministry's Department of Mental and Oral Health, said most young people commit suicide on impulse, because of a lack of family support, poor relationship with their family, or societal pressure, particularly in cases where they are in situations of domestic violence or family break-ups.
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