The Cancer Burden in China

While there are no national data on cancer incidence, the three national mortality surveys conducted in the 1970s, 1990, and 2006-2008 provide us a grave picture about cancer burden in China.  Cancer has now become the number one killer in today’s China, representing 27% of all deaths in urban areas and 25% in rural areas.  As shown in Figure 1, cancer mortality in China has been increasing rapidly during the past 3 decades. Lung cancer, in particular, increased 465% during the past 30 years. The WHO estimated that, by year 2025, more than 1,000,000 Chinese will be diagnosed with lung cancer alone each year. China accounts for almost 50% of the world's liver cancer cases. There are many news reports about “cancer villages” in China.  The costs for cancer treatment in 2006 were estimated to represent more than 20% of the annual total medical costs in China.