2.6 million suffer from cancer in China yearly, 1.8 million die

15:06, August 30, 2010      

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The cancer mortality rate in China has increased by 80 percent over the past 30 years and there are around 1.8 million cancer-related deaths annually, said Chen Zhu, minister of China's Ministry of Health recently.

Chen said this at the 2010 World Cancer Congress, which was held in Shenzhen city, southern China's Guangdong Province from Aug. 19 to Aug. 21.

This was the first time that the congress was held in China in the history of the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC). It attracted more than 3,000 delegates from 94 countries and regions all over the world.

Chen said cancer has become China's leading cause of death among urban and rural residents. The incidence of cancer in China is in a period of rapid increase with about 2.6 million people who suffered cancer annually, of which 1.8 million patients died.

Chen said at present, cancers in the lungs, liver, stomach, esophagus and colorectal area were the most common types of cancers in China. Cancer mortality rates in rural areas were obviously higher than in cities and cancer-prone areas tend to be concentrated in western regions and rural areas.

According to a report issued by the UICC, more than half of those cancer patients were living in low-income and middle-income countries, and this figure will soar to 70 percent by 2030.

The report shows that 12.7 million people suffered from cancer worldwide in 2008. The death toll was as high as 7.6 million, which exceeded the combined number of deaths from AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis.

If effective measures are not taken, there will be 26 million more cancer sufferers annually and the annual death toll will reach 17 million by 2030. Low-income and middle-income countries will become hardest hit.

Experts at the meeting said one-third of global cancer cases were preventable. Urgent actions by governments, individuals and medical communities are required to stop the rise in cancer deaths, they said.

Hao Xishan, president of the 2010 World Cancer Congress, said among cancer-causing lifestyle factors, smoking is the world's largest single preventable carcinogenic factor. Hao said 80 percent to 90 percent of lung cancer deaths in the world were attributed to smoking.

On the other hand, in the area of prevention, only 9 percent of nations globally prohibited smoking in bars and restaurants and 65 countries were reported having no national smoke-free policy.

David Hill, president of the UICC, said about 40 percent of cancer was caused by three main factors: lifestyle, infectious diseases and occupational or environmental factors.

"I can not tell you which kind of foods can cause cancer from regular consumption," Hill said. "But one thing is certain. Overeating can cause obesity, which is one of the main factors that lead to cancer."

By Li Mu, People's Daily Online


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