Research Training for Cancer Epidemiology & Biostatistics in China

The rapid economic development experienced in China during the past 3 decades has in turn led to dramatic changes in environmental conditions, dietary intakes, nutritional status, and lifestyle factors in the contemporary Chinese population. Facing the grave consequence of the ever increasing cancer burden in China, the Chinese government has taken major measures for cancer prevention and control. In 2004, the Chinese government published “The Strategic Plan for Cancer Prevention and Control in China (2004-2010)”.  In 2008, a new institute, The China National Cancer Center (CNCC), was created by merging the existing Cancer Hospital and CI-CAMS in Beijing. The CNCC is mandated by the central government to be responsible for China’s primary cancer research and to function as a teaching center for cancer-related studies in China. To further increase the awareness of the cancer threat, the Chinese government in early 2008 issued a “Red Alert” for cancer risk in China. 

In spite of these efforts, the rapidly increasing cancer burden and the overwhelming environmental health issues China faces today warrant much further action. China faces many challenges in battling the war against cancer. One of the major challenges is the severe lack of well-trained personnel in major areas of cancer research. With more than 1/5 of the world population and the continuous increase in cancer risk in the Chinese population, China’s war against cancer will have a global impact on human health. The lessons learned from China will also help the war against cancer in other low and intermediate income countries that have 60% of the world cancer burden. 

This integrated training program is created to increase Chinese expertise in order to respond to this unprecedented challenge in cancer prevention and control in China. The training program will train urgently needed cancer epidemiologists, biostatisticians, and cancer registration experts through long-term, intermediate, and short training programs at Yale, and workshops in China. This will enable China to more effectively design and implement appropriate strategies to respond to the emerging threat of increasing human cancer risk.