China / Society

Surge in breast cancer rate in Beijing

By Yang Wanli ( Updated: 2014-09-01 13:31

Surge in breast cancer rate in Beijing

Two young women dress up to join a charity run during the Breast Cancer Awareness Month in Shanghai. Provided to China Daily

The breast cancer rate in Beijing has increased by 90 percent in the past two decades, according to Sun Qiang, director of the Peking Union Medical College Hospital’s Breast Center.

“The incidence rate of breast cancer in Beijing kept growing by 4.6 percent annually, more than two times higher than the rate worldwide,” Sun said at the annual meeting of the Global Chinese Breast Cancer Organizations Alliance in Beijing at the weekend.

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Sun said the death rate from breast cancer has dropped in recent years worldwide, but the trend in China is the opposite. “Most patients in China were diagnosed at a late stage due to the lack of awareness and regular screening,” he said.

Most Chinese women who developed the disease were aged between 40 and 49, Sun said, whereas the age of onset in the United States is around 70.

Moreover, compared with the high surgery rate in the US where the breast is saved (about 60 to 70 percent of patients receive such surgery), the rate in China is no more than 5 percent, according to Zheng Minghui, president of the Taiwan Chang Gung Hospital.

The Taichung Kaihuai Association, which provides holistic care workshops in Taiwan, also shared their experiences with NGOs in the Chinese mainland attending the conference.

The incidence rate of breast cancer among urban women in China is 40 per 100,000. In the countryside it stands at 15 per 100,000, according to the latest statistics from the Ministry of Health.

Worldwide, Asian countries are seen as having low rates of breast cancer according to the World Health Organization.

The United States, which has a rate of 101.1 per 100,000, is the most heavily affected country.

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