Every minute, six people in China are diagnosed with cancer, according to the National Central Cancer Registry’s 2012 Annual Report.
There has also been an increase in cancer and deaths due to the disease in younger patients over the last two decades; data show that pollution is the key reason behind the rise.
Beijing has been trapped in a foul blanket of smog since late last week, and residents were warned to stay inside by the Environmental Monitoring Center.
Jinhua Times reports that this is the first time the annual cancer registry report has been publicly released. The figures are based on data collected from 72 cancer surveillance sites in 24 provinces, covering 85 million people; there are 8,550 new cases a day.
Lung cancer accounts for the largest proportion of malignant tumors, with the other main types among the Chinese population being stomach, colorectal, liver and esophagus cancers. According to the Beijing Health Bureau’s statistics, Beijing male lung cancer was at its highest rate in 2010, while in Beijing females lung cancer was slightly less prevalent than breast cancer.
The lung cancer incidence rate in Beijing has risen by 56 percent between 2001 and 2010, and constitutes most new cancer cases.
The rising rate of lung cancer is related to an aging population, urban and rural industrialization, the polluted environment and poor living habits, according to Zhi Xiuyi, dean of the department of thoracic surgery at Xuanwu Hospital in Beijing, speaking to Chinese media.
Smoking is another factor for lung cancer. “Cigarettes contain 69 kinds of harmful substances related to lung cancer,” Dr. Zhi said.
Statistics spanning 20 years indicate that breast, lung, colorectal and thyroid cancers are now being found among younger patients. The incidence rate of colorectal cancer is rising sharply in urban areas.
Geographic variations are related to cancer types in China. For instance, Henan and Hebei have a high incidence rate of esophagus cancer; north-eastern and coastal provinces, like Shanghai, Jiangsu, Gansu, and Qinghai, have a high incidence rate of stomach cancer; south-eastern coastal areas and north-eastern areas have a high incidence rate of liver cancer.
Researcher Geoff Hiscock of the ICA Institute and who has written on Asian business for 30 years, thinks that China became the world’s factory at the cost of the environment, causing 1.35 billion Chinese to be deprived of clean food, water and even air. He has said, “Beijing and many north-eastern areas have suffered water shortages. Inland cities, like Chongqing and Chengdu, are notorious for poor air quality. Farming land has been polluted by toxic wastes from mine areas and factories. The south of China has been plagued by acid rain, not to mention live-stock diseases and poisoned foods.”
According to China’s official statistics, 50 percent of the water in China is not drinkable; over-fertilization worsens conditions on land while fertilizer runoff going into rivers and lakes caused increased algae growth. In addition, water shortages reduce the environment’s ability to eliminate pollution, which in turn caused accumulation of toxic wastes.
China Business News reported at the end of 2011 that sulfur and carbon dioxide emissions and solid wastes in areas with high GDP growth are respectively 3.7 times, 4.1 times and 2.8 times as much as those in areas with low GDP growth.
The latest statistics from the Chinese Academy For Environmental Planning show that China’s annual cost of environmental pollution brought about by economic growth is nearly $160 billion and the cost is rising each year.In May, 2011, Wu Heng, a Fudan University graduate student, launched a Chinese website “Throw it Out the Window”, aiming to expose poisonous foods. With the help of 33 volunteers, the website has recorded over 2,000 verified poisonous foods found since 2004. The chart regarding China’s food safety problems on its website page shows that polluted foods are rampant, the scope is widening and the severity is mounting.
Read the original Chinese article.
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