Number of related deaths still rising
Cancer is a major cause of death in China, accounting for 25 percent of deaths nationwide in recent years, according to the latest report by the National Cancer Institute. In first-tier cities, such as Shanghai, the number rises to 30 percent.
For men, the incidence of cancer is about 210 per 10,000 people, while it is estimated to be 163 per 10,000 for women.
Lung cancer is the biggest cause of cancer-related deaths in China. However, breast cancer has the highest incidence rate among women.
“In general, the number of people dying from cancer is rising,” said Zheng Ying, director of the cancer prevention department at Fudan University Shanghai Cancer Center.
“Aging, air pollution and unhealthy habits can all be contributory factors. It is important to prevent relapses and metastasis (the development of secondary growths) after the first period of treatment in a bid to prevent cancerous cells from harming vital organs, such as the brain, lungs and liver.”
The five-year survival rate is a crucial yardstick, because most life-threatening relapses occur in the halfdecade after diagnosis. However, even patients with a good five-year survival rate are at risk of the developing the disease again.
The institute’s report shows that the overall five-year survival rate is highest among breast cancer patients, at almost 80 percent. Prostate cancer is next, at about 64 percent, but the rate plummets to less than 10 percent among people with liver or pancreatic cancer.
“In this process, it would be really helpful if people with cancer could receive assistance from their peers or families to help maintain regular physical activity and provide adequate nutrition,” Zheng said, adding that it is important to have regular health checks.
“In the struggle against cancer, psychological and physical rehabilitation should be based on specialized, multidisciplinary treatment,” she said.