Breast can­cer a fac­tor in Shang­hai’s low birth rate: doc­tor

China Daily (Canada) - - SHANGHAI - By WANG HONGYI in Shang­hai wanghongyi@chi­

Shang­hai has the high­est in­ci­dence of breast can­cer in the coun­try, which can be linked to the city’s low birth rate, health ex­perts said.

The growth in the in­ci­dence of breast can­cer in the city is dou­ble the world av­er­age. About 4,000 women are di­ag­nosed with breast can­cer ev­ery year in Shang­hai.

The num­ber of breast can­cer pa­tients in the coun­try is ex­pected to reach 2.5 mil­lion by 2021, ac­cord­ing to the In­ter­na­tional Breast Can­cer Fo­rum held in Shang­hai re­cently.

In China’s ur­ban ar­eas, there are 34.3 breast can­cer cases for ev­ery 100,000 women, twice that of ru­ral ar­eas, ex­perts said.

“High in­ci­dences of breast can­cer are mainly seen in first-tier ar­eas, such as Beijing, Shang­hai, Guangzhou and other coastal de­vel­oped ci­ties. This has a con­nec­tion to lo­cal low birth lev­els,” said Dr Shao Zhimin from the Shang­hai Can­cer Hos­pi­tal of Fu­dan Univer­sity.

The change of life­style and the de­crease of breast-feed­ing due to the China’s one-child pol­icy also are seen as main rea­sons for the high in­ci­dence of breast can­cer.

Shao’s re­search team found that Chi­nese women be­tween the ages of 45 and 55 and 70 and 74 are most likely to get breast can­cer. In Western coun­tries, the age of on­set for women con­tract­ing the dis­ease is mainly in the 60s and 70s.

Shao said a change in the age of on­set will be seen soon with the re­cent re­lax­ation of the one-child pol­icy in China, which al­lows cou­ples to have a sec­ond baby as long as one spouse comes from a onechild fam­ily.

“To give birth to a baby and have breast feed­ing is an im­por­tant part of breast health,” Shao said, adding that the peak age for Chi­nese women con­tract­ing the dis­ease over the next 20 years will re­sem­ble that in Western coun­tries.

GE Health­care re­leased a survey in Oc­to­ber, which is Breast Can­cer Aware­ness Month, which found that 50 per­cent of women in the world can­not rec­og­nize the most common symp­toms of breast can­cer.

The Value of Know­ing global survey of 10,000 adults across 10 coun­tries, in­clud­ing China, high­lighted a sig­nif­i­cant lack of aware­ness about the risks as­so­ci­ated with dense breast tis­sue. The dense tis­sue is found in about 40 per­cent of women.

Women with dense breast tis­sue have four to five times higher risk of de­vel­op­ing breast can­cer, yet only one out of five peo­ple in the world has seen, heard or read about dense breast tis­sue in the last six months, the re­port said.

“If a woman learns that she has dense breasts, it is im­por­tant for her to talk with her health­care provider about her risk and op­tions for fur­ther imag­ing or man­age­ment,” said Susan Brown, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of Health and Sci­ence Ed­u­ca­tion for Susan G. Komen, the world’s largest breast can­cer or­ga­ni­za­tion.


Vol­un­teers from Shang­hai Can­cer Re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion Club play in a swimming pool filled with one mil­lion pink and green ocean balls in Shang­hai, in this 2013 file photo. All the ocean balls had been auc­tioned at a price of 35 yuan for ev­ery 100 balls, and the fund raised had been do­nated for breast can­cer preven­tion in Shang­hai.

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