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Every Minute, 4 People Die of Cancer in China


China National Cancer Center released the latest national report on the incidence and mortality rate of cancer on April 6. It is estimated that there were 3.8 million (equivalent to the population of L.A.) new cases of malignant tumors and 2.3 million deaths in 2016. That is, on average, 7 people were diagnosed with cancer while 4 people died of cancer every minute in China.



Biggest Killer: Cancer Types and by Gender

In terms of incidence, lung cancer ranks first with about 781,000 new cases each year. Lung cancer, gastric cancer, colorectal cancer, liver cancer, breast cancer, esophageal cancer, thyroid cancer, cervical cancer, brain tumor and pancreatic cancer are the major common malignancies in China, accounting for about 77% of all new cases of cancer.

By gender, lung cancer ranks first among male, with approximately 521,000 new cases each year, followed by gastric cancer, liver cancer, colorectal cancer, and esophageal cancer. Breast cancer ranks first among female, with around 279,000 new cases each year, followed by lung cancer, colorectal cancer, thyroid cancer, and gastric cancer.

In terms of mortality rate, lung cancer ranks first too. Lung cancer, liver cancer, gastric cancer, esophageal cancer, colorectal cancer, pancreatic cancer, breast cancer, brain tumor, leukemia and lymphoma are the major causes of cancer death, accounting for about 83% of all tumor deaths.


What Has Changed?

The incidence of cancer increased from 3.5 million in 2011 to 3.8 million 2016, which is an increase of 8% in 5 years. Wanqing Chen, director of the Office of Early Detection at the National Cancer Center, said, “The primary reasons behind it are the rapid ageing population and the fact that incidence of cancer increases with age.”

The mortality rate decreased slightly from 2.3 million in 2011 to 2.3 million in 2016, which is a 1.8% dercease.

“New targeted measures are starting to bear fruit. For instance, with the use of hepatitis B vaccines and integrated cancer prevention and control techniques in cancer-prone areas over the last several years, there is an increase in the survival rate of upper gastrointestinal cancer, especially liver cancer. However, due to the large number of smokers in China, lung cancer mortality rate remains high, leading to a slow decline in the overall mortality of cancers in China.” Chen suggested.

Overall, the cancer profile in Chinese society has remained unchanged since 2011.


On A Global Scale

The prevalence and deaths of cancer cases in China stand at 21.8% and 27.1%, respectively, in proportion to those in the world.


Age Watershed

The report suggests that the incidence of cancer in China remains at low levels in the 0-39-year-old group and begins to rise rapidly after the age of 40, reaching its peak in the 80+-year-old age group.


Urban-Rural Divide

Both incidence and survival rate in cities are higher than in rural areas. “The higher incidence in cities could be blamed on pollution, lifestyle change, and occupational stress, while the lower mortality is due to the improved medical resources allocation and rising health awareness which leads to early detection”, Chen added.


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