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Cancer rates climb

(Shanghai Daily)

08:52, May 28, 2013

Very minute six Chinese are diagnosed with cancer on the mainland and every minute five people die from the disease. Tan Weiyun looks at the situation in Shanghai and finds out why rates are soaring.

While figures are most of the time convincing, they are also scary, sometimes. The latest survey for 2012 by the Shanghai Municipal Center for Disease Control and Prevention (SCDC) shows averagely 1.79 people among 100 in the city are cancer patients; the 2011 figure was 1 person out of 100 Shanghai residents.

Cancer in Shanghai is soaring to record levels, while deaths are not because of early detection and treatment, according to cancer experts. The SCDC survey reveals that every day, 82 people die of cancers in Shanghai.

"These figures have sounded the alarm," says Dr Gong Yangming from the oncology department of the SCDC.

Reasons include high-fat, high-sugar diets, obesity, lack of vegetables and fiber, lack of exercise, stress, environmental pollutants, and longer life, since cancer is also disease of age.

According to the survey, the top 10 fatal cancers for men are lung, large intestine, stomach, liver, prostate, pancreas, esophagus, urinary bladder, kidney, brain and central nervous system.

The leading cancers in women are breast, large intestine, lung, stomach, thyroid gland, liver, pancreas, brain and central nervous system, gall bladder and ovary.

These tumors account for more than 85 percent of all the cancers.

"Cancer is a chronic non-infectious disease, and we wouldn't have big changes in the short term, but in the long run, we can observe the trend," Gong says.

Compared with 10 years ago, the top lethal cancer for men (lung) and for women (breast) are the same.

Colorectal cancer is rising significantly for both men and women, while liver, stomach and esophageal cancers have dropped significantly during the past decade.

Stomach, liver and esophageal cancers have peaked and are declining, says Gao Yutang, former director of the Shanghai Cancer Institute.

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