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Cancer rates climb (2)

(Shanghai Daily)

08:53, May 28, 2013

"But at the same time cancers of the breast, gall bladder and large intestine are increasing, which might be caused by the changes of living habits and diet structure," Gao says.

Breast and prostate cancers are still low compared with Western countries, but they are estimated to rise in the future, he says.

The causes of cancers are extremely complicated, involving genetic inheritance, environment and living habits and the interaction among these factors, observes Professor Cao Hui from Shanghai Renji Hospital.

He notes that cancers of the large intestine (colorectal) and stomach are high for both men and women.

"This might be due to lack of fresh vegetables and fruits for urban dwellers, who live at a fast pace and work under great pressure," he says. "If the stomach keeps going like this, the gastric mucosa will be destroyed and the body will be vulnerable to developing cancer cells."

Colorectal cancer is considered a "disease of wealth" because of the high-fat, high-sugar diets, lack of fiber and physical exercise, as well as irregular bowel movement.

Another common disease in many big cities is lung cancer as a result of million tons of vehicle exhaust that has become an invisible killer. Smoking is also a big contributor to lung cancer.

As the medical system has improved and health awareness and checkups have increased in China, the reported incidence of cancer has increased significantly in recent years.

"The rising incidence of cancers and the number of patients are in sync with the aging speed of the population, which contributes greatly to the city's cancer surge," Gong says. Cancer, the abnormal growth of cells, is very much a disease of aging.

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