Beijing - China accounts for about half of the global annual death toll from
stomach cancer due to the Chinese taste for pickled and smoked food and
unabashed enthusiasm for smoking, the Xinhua news agency said.
Pupils break cigarettes
as a gesture showing their determinations of non-smoking at an elementary
school of Jinan, the capital eastern China's Shandong province, in this
file photo taken May 29, 2006. China accounts for about half of the global
annual death toll from stomach cancer due to the Chinese taste for pickled
and smoked food and unabashed enthusiasm for smoking. [Reuters]
The disease kills about 300,000 people in China a year and there are 400,000
new cases reported annually, Xinhua said in a report on Wednesday.
Only lung and liver cancer kill more people in China, it quoted Jin Maolin, a
doctor at Peking University, as saying.
Though men aged over 50 are most at risk, the number of women in rural areas
who have contracted stomach cancer has risen 25 percent in the past five years,
Chinese people need to eat more fresh fruit and vegetables and cut down on
salted and pickled food -- very popular in China -- as well as smoking and
drinking to reduce the risks, he added.
The World Health Organization and Chinese Health Ministry warned earlier this
year that a surge in chronic diseases such as cancer and diabetes due to
changing lifestyles could kill up to 80 million people in China in the next
Chinese urban residents today eat double the amount of meat they did 20 years
ago and both men and woman were smoking at an earlier age, the health ministry
The WHO wants developing countries, where most such deaths occur, to copy
Western nations by discouraging tobacco use and curbing salt, sugar and
saturated fats in food.
They could have their work cut out for them in China, home to the world's
most enthusiastic smokers who smoke about two trillion cigarettes a year,
according to the Chinese government.