China Cancer Registry Annual Report 2012:
“In Every 6 Minutes There is a New Patient Diagnosed with Cancer.”
April 8th 2013
By Jie Fan, China Press Weekly
“China Cancer Registry Annual Report 2012” has been released by the National Central Cancer Registry (NCCR) in early 2013. The report shows that about 3.5 million new cancer cases are diagnosed in China each year while that of cancer death cases are around 2.5 million. In every 6 minutes, there's a new patient diagnosed with cancer, 8,550 new cancer patients are diagnosed every day. 1 in every 7~8 deaths is due to cancer disease.
Cancer incidence situation is severe
Such situation seemed not to reach the peak yet. “Cancer incidence rate and mortality rate will still be on the rise in the next 10 years. By 2020, approximately 3 million patients are expected to die from cancer in China every year and 6.6 million new cancer cases will be diagnosed by 2020.”, according to the prediction of Mr. Chen Wanqing, Deputy Director of NCCR.
From the special old well-known “Cancer County” to the “Cancer Village” concluded by the people are only “landmarks” indicating vigorous cancer situation in China. Even without checking statistical figures, many people can feel more and more patients suffering from cancer around them in their daily lives in vast urban area, On the other hand, the name list of celebrities who died from cancer is getting longer, which brought up such critical situation to people’s attention from time to time.
Interpreting Cancer Spectrum in China
Statistics show that gastrointestinal cancer has been the major cancer diagnosed among developing countries in the 20 years between 1970 and 1990; From 1990 to early 21st century, lung cancer and breast cancer have been catching up rapidly with largest increases. The report shows that lung, stomach, colorectal, liver and esophagus cancers were the top 5 common cancers diagnosed among Chinese in 2009. Meanwhile, lung cancer ranked first as a cause of cancer death, followed by cancers of liver, stomach, esophagus and colorectum.
“This is the change of the Cancer spectrum. Such cancers as liver, stomach, esophagus and cervix ones are known as “cancers of the poor”, with high prevalence among developing countries; while lung, colorectal, breast, lymphoma and prostate cancers are known as “cancers of the rich”, with high prevalence among developed countries. Mr. Chen said. “The incidence rate of ‘cancers of the poor’ stays high meanwhile that of ’cancers of the rich’ is growing very fast, which forms the transition from developing-countries cancer spectrum to the one featured by developed countries.
The report shows a younger age trend in cancer incidence in China. Patient’s ages with breast cancer, lung cancer, colorectal cancer, and thyroid cancer are lower than previous statistics. In average, there are 87.07 cancer patients among 100 thousand population aged 35-39. This number reaches 154.53 among those 40-44 years of age. Oncologists believe that the younger age of cancer patients in China results from environmental pollution, unhealthy life style and mental pressure under modern social life.
Meanwhile, the report shows that another factor of aggressive cancer growth in China is the aging of the population. Peak age group of cancer incidence is 75-80. “People’s lifespan is relatively shorter in the past and they tend to die of other diseases before cancer comes into being. Nowadays, there are more and more people aged above 70, hence cancer incidence rate is on the rise accordingly.” Mr. Chen said. “With the growing population of the old, the trend of increasing cancer incidence rate will go on.”
Cure and Prevention
If cancer incidence rate is put into lateral comparison, the Top 10 cancer incidence rate countries are all developed countries such as Denmark, France, Australia etc. while China stays in the middle place, ranking around 80th to 90th. “but our mortality rate is very high and rank in the front”. Mr. Chen stated. “Ultimately, we measure the harmfulness of a disease by checking the mortality rate of that disease and how life-threatening it is to an individual.”
With the growing cancer incidence rate in China, the Ministry of Health issued "Plan Outline of Cancer Prevention and Control in China(2004-2010)" and put enhancing cancer registry in the main contents of cancer prevention and control measures. Up to 2012, there are 222 cancer registration sites nationwide, covering a population of about 200 million people, which is only a very 1st step on cancer prevention and control measures. Establishing a benign pattern of economic development and a healthy life style contributes far more to individuals than clinical interventions even with great progress on oncology studies and trials. Prevention is still the best cure against cancer.