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Breast cancer on the rise in China

中国日报网 2013-10-23 10:18

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China and other developing countries are experiencing a surge in breast cancer incidence and mortality, according to a new study released by GE Healthcare.

Among the factors contributing to increased rates are longer life expectancy, the use of post-menopausal hormonal therapy and lifestyle choices, including having fewer children, according to the study.

"In these regions mortality rates are compounded by the later stage at which the disease is diagnosed, as well as limited access to treatment, presenting a 'ticking time bomb' which health systems and policymakers in these countries need to work hard to defuse," says Bengt Jonsson, a professor of health economics at the Stockholm School of Economics and co-author of the report.

According to the study, 15 million years of "healthy life" were lost to breast cancer incidence or mortality in 2008. Breast cancer is currently the number one cause of cancer deaths for women worldwide.

Women in Africa, China and the United States led the countries in which women have been most affected in recent years. A lack of consumer understanding and access combined with the economic burden of treating the disease have contributed to low rates of seeking help or undergoing mammograms, GE reported.

The US still outpaces China in breast cancer diagnoses: One in eight women in the US will be diagnosed in their lifetimes; in China, one out of 40 will be diagnosed. However, the data only reflects those who enter into healthcare.

According to the GE report, 27 percent of Chinese women over the age of 40 living in urban areas undergo mammograms once every two years. In the US, 50 percent of women in the same age bracket receive a mammogram annually.

"It is of great concern that women in newly industrialized countries are reluctant to get checked out until it is too late," says Claire Goodliffe, global oncology director at GE Healthcare.

While China currently has the lowest age-adjusted incidence of the countries in question, the family planning policy and other lifestyle changes due to rapid economic growth will potentially have enormous long-term effects on breast-cancer rates, GE says.

(中国日报网英语点津 Helen 编辑)

 

About the broadcaster:

Anne Ruisi is an editor at China Daily online with more than 30 years of experience as a newspaper editor and reporter. She has worked at newspapers in the U.S., including The Birmingham News in Alabama and City Newspaper of Rochester, N.Y.

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