Promotion of healthy lifestyles, early screening to curtail incidence, mortality
China aims to raise the overall five-year survival rate for cancers to over 46.6 percent by 2030 by rolling out comprehensive measures including promoting healthy lifestyles, expanding screening and accelerating the development of new technologies, officials and experts said on Wednesday.
China reports nearly 4.1 million new cancer cases each year, with lung, colorectal, stomach, liver and breast cancers the most common. Cancer, cardiovascular diseases and other chronic illnesses account for over 80 percent of deaths in the country.
Guo Yanhong, director of the National Health Commission's medical emergency response department, said during a news conference that the proportion of people surviving for at least five years after a cancer diagnosis rose from 40.5 percent in 2015 to 43.7 percent last year.
"The upward trend seen in cancer incidence and death rates in China has been initially curbed, and the incidence of prevalent cancers, such as those in the esophagus, stomach and liver, has been decreasing annually," she said.
Drawing lessons from past years' efforts, the commission launched an action plan on Wednesday to further curtail rising rates of cancer incidence and mortality, through addressing risk factors, strengthening screening and early interventions and implementing standardized therapies across the nation.
The action plan calls for increasing awareness rates of key knowledge on cancer prevention to over 80 percent by 2030. The rate currently stands at 70 percent, said Guo.
Zhang Yong, Party chief of the National Cancer Center, said that about 40 percent of cancers can be prevented through reining in risk factors and adopting a healthier lifestyle, such as quitting smoking and reducing alcohol use, obtaining vaccines against hepatitis B and human papillomavirus and minimizing exposure to carcinogens, especially at workplaces.
"It is also important to undergo authoritative cancer screening and anti-cancer health examinations so as to detect potential malignant tumors at an early stage," he added.
Zhang said that Shanghai, Tianjin and the provinces of Zhejiang and Jiangsu have begun offering free cancer screening for residents in recent years. By the end of last year, the early diagnosis rate of key cancer types in high-prevalence regions topped 55 percent.
More efforts will be made to expand screening, integrate screening with the initiation of early diagnosis and treatment, and launch awareness campaigns to improve the public's acceptance of such programs.
"We will also step up research into developing novel screening and early treatment technologies, targeting the most common cancer types in China," he added.
Zhang said that the five-year survival rate for breast cancer in China has reached 83 percent, nearing the level in developed countries. The rate for esophageal cancer has also surpassed that in some European and American countries.
"China is among the leading groups globally regarding its cancer prevention and treatment technologies," he said.
Also on Wednesday, the commission released a separate action plan targeting cardiovascular diseases. The goal is to reduce the death rate of cardiovascular diseases to 190.7 per 100,000 people by 2030.