BEIJING, April 20 -- An international congress on gastric cancer opened in Beijing Thursday, the first such conference to be held in China.
The 12th International Gastric Cancer Congress (IGCC) has drawn more than 3,000 registered delegates, including one third of them from overseas.
Ji Jiafu, president of the congress, said it will cover prevention, diagnosis and treatment of all stages of gastric cancer, including screening, endoscopic diagnosis and treatment of early gastric cancer, surgery, emerging targeted therapy and provision of psycho-social support.
"We hope the 12th IGCC will be a bridge for communication of research findings and clinical experience, promote standardized treatment, and consequently, bridge gaps and improve management around the world," he said while explaining the theme of bridging the gaps to improve the management of gastric cancer.
According to Beijing Office for Cancer Prevention and Control, about 680,000 new gastric cancer cases are estimated in China each year, accounting for around half of the world's gastric cancer incidence.
Ji, also president of Peking University Cancer Hospital, said the hospital started diagnosis and prevention research in 1983 in Linqu, a county with high incidence of gastric cancer in east China' s Shandong Province.
In 2011, through work with 185,000 local residents to eradicate helicobacter pylori (H. pylori), a bacterium widely believed to be a major cause of gastric disease and cancers, the research team found eradication of the bacteria could reduce gastric cancer incidence by 39 percent.
The research provided references for a report on gastric cancer prevention by eradicating H. pylori drafted by the WHO International Agency for Research on Cancer.
"Our efforts over generations have been recognized by the world, which I think is an important reason for us to win the hosting right of the congress," said Ji.
Wu Aiwen, secretary-general of the congress, said apart from traditional highlights of the congress, such as the cutting-edge research findings, standardization of clinical treatment and precision medicine, such as targeted therapy, the congress also features some "Chinese characteristics."
Delegates will have opportunities to learn and discuss China's experience of using epidemiological data and multi-component interventions in early prevention of gastric cancer and integrating traditional Chinese medicine in palliative care.
"Delegates can share and discuss how to use an evidence-based approach to collecting clinical data and learn about traditional Chinese medicine," he said.
Palliative care focuses on providing people with relief from the symptoms, pain and mental stress when the diseases do not respond to treatment, improving quality of life for both patients and their family.
Bruno Zilberstein, president of International Gastric Cancer Association (IGCA), said traditional Chinese medicine could help in teaching people how to eat and how they can avoid gastric cancer, and also in palliative treatment of the cancer.
The biennial event is organized by the IGCA. The 12th IGCC is hosted by Chinese Anti-Cancer Association, Chinese Gastric Cancer Association and Peking University Cancer Hospital.