Cancer care in China: A general review

Fuda Cancer Hospital

A Chinese man is carried on a stretcher at Fuda Cancer Hospital to undergo surgery to remove a tumor.

The most recent epidemiological data has shown that over 2.2 million new cancer cases (1.4 million in men, 0.8 million in women) are diagnosed in China each year and approximately 1.6 million of the cancers result in mortality. Over the last 20 years, the cancer-related mortality rate has risen by 30%, which constitutes 25-35% of all deaths. From 2000 to 2005 alone, the total number of new cases increased by 14.6% with the most common sites being lung, liver and stomach in men, and breast, lung and stomach in women primarily as a result of population growth and aging. In addition, the rising rates of lung cancer incidence (in both sexes) and breast cancer mean that there will be much greater increases in the number of cases at these two sites (27% for lung cancer in men, 38% for lung and breast cancer in women). Cancer has become the number one cause of death in China.

As of the end of 2006, there are 104.2 million people who are 65 years or older, constituting 7.9% of the entire population in China. At present, China also has 20% of the world’s population older than 60 years old, which has surpassed 150 million. China has become one of the aging countries, with the fastest growth and the largest aging population in the world. This is one of the major reasons for rising cancer incidence in China.

In urban populations, the leading causes of death are as follows; cancer, cerebral vascular accidents, cardiovascular, pulmonary, injury and poisoning, gastrointestinal, endocrinological and metabolical, urological, and psychiatric disorders. Although over the last five decades the overall cancer incidence has continued to climb, this trend is not observed in all types of cancers.

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