Only 25 percent of Chinese cancer patients can survive for five years, compared with European and American countries' 68 percent, as a result of failure in timely diagnosis and treatment, said a health expert in Beijing on Sunday.
Zhang Zongwei, secretary-general of the China anti-cancer association, said China lags far behind developed countries on the key health indicator, adding that 90 percent of different types of cancer can be cured given that they are spotted and treated at an early stage.
But lack of knowledge on cancer slows the public reaction to the disease. Over 80 percent of cancer patients know they have contracted the disease only after it evolves into the middle or later stage.
According to a report released by the Ministry of Health in May, cancer is the leading cause of mortality in China, accounting for 24 percent of deaths.
China has about 3.1 million cancer patients and the number keeps rising by two million each year. About 1.5 million people die of cancer annually.
Among the under-65 age cancer patients, lung cancer, liver cancer, stomach cancer, cancer of the oesophagus and rectal cancer are the leading killers.