Is China facing a new epidemic?
Approximately one fifth of the planet’s entire population lives in China, and the sheer volume of citizens often baffles medical researchers looking for trends. According to a report from Medical Daily, however, one thing is affecting Chinese people’s health for sure, and it was responsible for the death of more than 2.8 million people last year.
A recent study from scientists working with the American Cancer Society, the University of Sydney, and the National Cancer Center Beijing has shown that cancer is seriously affecting China, with 2.8 million deaths and 4.3 million new cases reported in 2015. The most common type of cancer reported was lung cancer by a large margin.
“Cancer incidence and mortality have been increasing in China, making cancer the leading cause of death since 2010 and a major public health problem in the country,” the report said. As data-collection methods improve in the Chinese healthcare system, researchers are just beginning to learn why so many people are falling victim to cancer.
To understand why cancer is such a problem in China, one must take a look at the numbers. The report wrote that 22 percent of new global cancer cases occur in China, and nearly 27 percent of global deaths from cancer occur in China. There are four commonly diagnosed cancers in China, including lung, stomach, liver, and esophageal cancer. Together, these four types of cancer account for 57 percent of all cases in the country.
In 2015, almost 12,000 people were diagnosed with cancer daily. There were about 7,500 daily deaths due to cancer last year as well.
The leading cause behind many of these cancer cases, researchers believe, is outdoor air pollution. Other contributors include indoor air pollution from heading and cooking stoves powered by coal or other biomass fuels, and the widespread contamination of soil and drinking water from industrial pollution. Tobacco smoking is also a major player, the report found, with more than one-half of Chinese men regularly smoking cigarettes.
China is making efforts to lower their industry’s impact on their environment, but the country has a long road ahead.
A press release from the American Cancer Society outlining the recent report can be found here.