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Attributable causes of cancer in Vietnam

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-20, 11:12 authored by Thuy Nguyen, Luu, HN, Nguyen, MVT, Tran, MT, Tuong, TTV, Tran, CTD, Boffetta, P

Purpose: Vietnam is undergoing rapid socio-economic transition with an increasing cancer burden. The contribution of modifiable risk factors to cancers in Vietnam has not been studied. Therefore, we sought to evaluate the attributable causes of cancer in Vietnam.

Methods: We reviewed the data on burden of cancer in Vietnam from 2 cancer registries in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City between 1995 and 2012. Next, we calculated the fractions of cancers occurring in 2018 attributable to established modifiable risk factors whose impact could be quantified. Data on exposure prevalence were obtained for the period from 2000 to 2010 from national sources wherever possible.

Results: Cancer incidence in Vietnam has decreased slightly in both sexes. Cancer related to infectious agents decreased sharply, whereas cancer related to nutrition and metabolism has increased. In 2018, established carcinogens included in the analysis explained 47.0% of cancer burden in Vietnam. Chronic infections accounted for 29.1% of cancers (34.7% in men and 22.1% in women), tobacco smoking for 13.5% (23.9% in men and 0.8% in women), and alcohol drinking for 10.3%. Passive smoking was responsible for 8.8% of cancers in women. Other risk factors, including overweight or obesity, nulliparity, and low vegetable and fruit intake, accounted for < 1% of all cancers each.

Conclusion: Cancer incidence is slowly decreasing in Vietnam, and the causes of more than half of cancers remain unexplained. This result underlines the need for further epidemiologic and fundamental research. Our findings confirm the notion that controlling oncogenic infections and decreasing tobacco smoking are the most effective approaches to reduce the burden of cancer in Vietnam, but other risk factors, including alcohol drinking and diet, should not be neglected.


Publication title

JCO Global Oncology






Menzies Institute for Medical Research


American Society of Clinical Oncology

Place of publication

United States

Rights statement

Copyright 2020 by American Society of Clinical Oncology. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)

Repository Status

  • Open

Socio-economic Objectives

Disease distribution and transmission (incl. surveillance and response)

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