Background: Hitherto, cancer mortality data have not been available in Viet Nam, so that the real public health problem with this disease has yet to be addressed and recognized in the country with a population of over 80 million in South East Asia. The aim of the present pilot study was to examine cancer mortality in a commune population of Hanoi city, 1996-2005.
Methods: Cancer data was accessed from the database of the population-routine-based death registration performed by medical workers at commune health stations based on the guidelines of the Ministry of Health at Hanoi city. All deaths occurring in the community were registered. This registration process was monthly reviewed for each fatal case regarding the name, age, sex, address, occupation, date - place - cause of death, and information concerning to pre - death medical care during the study period from Jan. 1996 to Dec. 2005. The list of death and residents of the study population was carefully cross-checked with other information sources to avoid under- or over-registration. The world population structure was used to estimate Age-standardized cancer mortality rates per 100,000, (ASR).
Results: During 60,770 person-years estimated from Jan. 1996 to Dec. 2005, 320 deaths and their causes were registered. Among them, 100 cancer cases of all sites (66 males and 34 females) were included. Cancer mortality rates were 222 and 109 (Crude), 353 and 115 (ASR), for males and females, respectively. For both genders combined, lung cancer was the most common, 27 cases, followed by liver, 26 cases and stomach, with 19. Proportion of death from cancer was about 31% of all causes.
Conclusions: The present findings suggest that in Viet Nam, a developing country, cancer is indeed an important public health problem.