BEIRUT, Sept. 21 (Xinhua) -- Caretaker Health Minister Ghassan Hasbani said that the rate of cancer patients in Lebanon has increased by 5.5 percent yearly from 2005 to 2016, local newspaper Asharq Al Awsat reported Friday.
"We assess the number of cancer patients based on statistics of people who come and register at the health ministry for treatment, so the real number is probably higher," said Hasbani.
Hasbani noted that the rate of cancer patients in Lebanon is similar to or higher than rates in Europe.
The most common reasons of cancers in Lebanon, according to Hasbani, are air pollution, waste burning and contamination of groundwater and irrigation water.
Meanwhile, lawmaker Fadi Alameh told Elnashra, an online independent newspaper, that the lack of food security in Lebanon is one of the direct causes of cancers in Lebanon.
He added that Lebanon does not properly dispose industrial waste.
According to local news agency Al Markazia, the World Health Organization estimated over 17,000 new cancer cases in 2018 in Lebanon and 242 cancer patients for every 100,000 Lebanese.