Screen­ing can dra­mat­i­cally lower in­ci­dence of gas­troin­testi­nal can­cer

New cases

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - CHINA - By ZHOU WENTING in Shang­hai zhouwent­[email protected]­

Med­i­cal ex­perts are sug­gest­ing that high-risk groups over the age of 40 get an­nual screen­ings for gas­tric can­cer, which is the sec­ond most com­mon can­cer in China.

Risk fac­tors in­clude hav­ing pre­vi­ously suf­fered from gas­tric ill­nesses that could lead to can­cer, hav­ing an im­me­di­ate fam­ily mem­ber with gas­tric can­cer, a life­style that in­cludes a high-salt diet, smok­ing or heavy drink­ing, or an­ti­bod­ies for the Heli­cobac­ter py­lori (Hp) bac­te­ria.

Peo­ple found to be at high risk after a blood test are urged to un­dergo a gas­troscopy, said Li Zhaoshen, an aca­demi­cian with the Chi­nese Academy of En­gi­neer­ing and head of the Na­tional Early Gas­troin­testi­nal-Can­cer Preven­tion and Treat­ment Cen­ter Al­liance.

The al­liance was es­tab­lished in July with a goal of in­clud­ing 1,000 hospi­tals na­tion­wide as preven­tion and treat­ment cen­ters for earlystage gas­troin­testi­nal can­cers.

China has nearly 500,000 deaths from gas­tric can­cer each year, and nearly 680,000 new cases — half of such cases around the world — and ex­perts at­tribute it to the low rate of early screen­ing and de­tec­tion.

“Around 90 per­cent of the gas­tric can­cer pa­tients in the coun­try are al­ready in the pro­gres­sive stage when their dis­eases are de­tected, so they miss the best pe­riod for treat­ment,” Li said.

In com­par­i­son, the early di­ag­no­sis rate of gas­tric can­cer is 60 per­cent in Ja­pan and 50 per­cent in South Korea, Li said, and ac­cord­ingly, the five-year sur­vival rates in the two coun­tries are roughly 30 per­cent higher than in China.

Du Yiqi, a pro­fes­sor with the gas­troen­terol­ogy depart­ment of Shang­hai Chang­hai Hospi­tal and sec­re­tary-gen­eral of the al­liance, said that to pre­vent stom­ach can­cer, it is vi­tal to fight against Hp, one of the most con­trol­lable fac­tors of the can­cer.

“The Hp bac­te­ria has been listed in the first cat­e­gory of can­cer-caus­ing fac­tors of gas­tric can­cer by the World Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion, and for each in­di­vid­ual in­fected with Hp, the erad­i­ca­tion of the bac­te­ria can re­duce the in­ci­dence of suf­fer­ing from stom­ach can­cer by 46 per­cent,” he said.

Li Fang, deputy di­rec­tor of the ta­lent ex­change cen­ter of the Na­tional Health Com­mis­sion, said that one goal in the “Healthy China 2030” ini­tia­tive is to raise the fiveyear sur­vival rate of all can­cers by 15 per­cent, and that re­quires more early screen­ing.

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