SIX people are diagnosed with cancer every minute in China and young people and the elderly are most at risk, according to medical experts cited in a report in the bi-monthly China Comment journal.
There are about 3.12 million new cases of cancer every year in China, and 2 million deaths, the report said.
The age distribution of cancer patients and the rapid rise of lung, breast and colorectal cancers were of concern to doctors but 60 percent of cases could be avoided by following a healthy lifestyle, experts said.
Cancers closely related to people's lifestyles were rising quickly in China.
Xu Congjian, president of the Obstetrics and Gynecology Hospital of Fudan University, said women suffering from cancer were younger than before. Among all gynecological cancer patients, 21 percent were young women who hadn't yet had children.
Cervical cancer was beginning to affect women in their 30s and 40s, 10 years earlier than before, because of their earlier sex life, multiple partners and smoking, he said.
The most prevalent cancers in China are those of lung, stomach, rectum, liver and esophagus while lung cancer had the highest mortality, the report said.
Mortality due to lung cancer had risen by 465 percent in the past 30 years and had become the top cause of death from cancer in China, it said.
Chen Wanqing, vice director of the National Cancer Prevention and Control Research Office, said 85 to 90 percent of lung cancers were related to smoking, while 20 percent of deaths due to cancer in China were related to diet, nutrition and lack of exercise.
Environmental pollution will also cause more deaths due to cancer, the report said, but so far no wide ranging studies have been carried out.
Experts said that obesity and overweight could double the number of deaths from cancer while deaths from cancer due to the abuse of alcohol could also rise over the next 15 years.
Chen said China's different age distribution of cancer patients was due to family planning policy and the rising number of the elderly people.
"Under the aging society, China has more young cancer patients and more elderly cancer patients at the same time," he said. "In 2020, there will be 4 million new cases of cancer in China every year."
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