Something infuriating: without WHO data, it's quite hard to find information to back up things I hear regarding health in Taiwan.
Damn you, China. Damn you!
Anyway, today a student of mine (who is a medical doctor and researcher) said that cervical cancer rates in Taiwan were the highest in the world - this was because a.) cervical cancer, unlike other cancers, is generally caused by viruses (such as HPV), and Taiwan, being more humid, tends to be a place where women are more susceptible down there to such things*; b.) sex ed isn't good enough regarding STD issues; and c.) not enough women regularly get the screenings they need to detect pre-cancerous conditions. "Many foreign women come to Taiwan," she said, "and if they stay for a long time more of them get cervical cancer than average. It is surprising."
This is not something I'd heard, and I do think such information is important not only for expat women in Taiwan but for Taiwanese women, as well. So I did some Google-fu, but I am a poor apprentice indeed.
We have Pfizer Facts, whose Google blurb notes that cervical cancer rates are higher than average in Taiwan but doesn't seem to have the data to back it up (if anything it looks like breast cancer is a bigger problem), something I haven't finished reading yet, but whose data is possibly out of date and doesn't seem to do a lot of outside-Taiwan global comparison, a blurb of an article I'd like to read but won't pay $31.50 for, another article I need to read more carefully whose Google blurb says that cervical cancer rates are highest in Taiwan, among the Maori and in part of Thailand, and this bit of uselessness from the WHO with no data for Taiwan, because politics apparently trumps world health.
All I can say is that I heard it, and even if it's not true, cancer rates do seem to be generally higher in Asia - so ladies, see your OB-GYN regularly (no excuse - there are ones that speak English, although I don't like how they assume I'll want to have babies) and get the vaccine. It is, so says my student, available in Taiwan, so get it.
*I'm not sure if I quite buy this first one, just reporting what was said