Screening is essential

Updated: 2013-03-19 07:43

By Yang Wanli (China Daily)

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The 2012 Cancer Registry Annual Report, published by the China Tumor Cases Registration Center earlier this year, said that on average 7,300 people die from cancer on the Chinese mainland every day. That works out more than 2.6 million deaths annually.

Lung cancer tops the list in China in terms of the rate of incidence and deaths. The disease is fatal for approximately 26 percent of people who contract it, that's almost double the number of deaths attributable to liver cancer, the number two killer.

Zhou Qi, a deputy to the National People's Congress and president of Chongqing Cancer Hospital, said environmental protection programs have taken a long time to show a significant improvement.

"However, about one-third of cancers can be diagnosed and treated at an early stage and the popularity of programs to educate people in cancer-prevention techniques really helps to save more from suffering from the disease," he said.

People aged 40 or younger should arrange to be screened for cancer every two years, while the frequency should rise to once a year as people grow older, according to Zhao. He said the government spends more on treating cancer than preventing it, and that prevention should be the main recipient of funding in future.

Although screening for cervical cancer among young women might discover just one case in every 10,000 people tested, the benefits are obvious.

"The screening process costs a lot of money, but if we didn't conduct the tests, those confirmed with the disease would have to pay more for medical treatment and, of course, they would also suffer more pain," he said.

Zhao said breast, lung and colorectal cancers tend to affect younger people, and suggested people go for cancer screenings after they turn 40.

Experts said a healthy diet can be an effective way of reducing the negative effects of air pollution.

"Drinking more water and eating lots of vegetables will help to accelerate the metabolism and aid the natural excretion of toxins from the body," said Zhi Xiuyi, vice-president of the Chinese Association for Thoracic Surgeons and an expert on lung cancer.

"Also, there is a saying, "Cancer comes from anger". A positive attitude is also very important in the prevention of cancer."