Cancer is No 1 killer in Beijing for seventh year, says health report

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 29 June, 2014, 5:42am
UPDATED : Sunday, 29 June, 2014, 9:19am

Cancer remains the No 1 killer for Beijing residents for the seventh year in a row, with the rate of thyroid cancer rising the fastest, according to a report by the capital's health authority.

The report, by the Beijing Health and Family Planning Commission, also for the first time estimated "healthy life expectancy", and found people aged 18 had a little more than 40 years of full health left.

More than 40,000 Beijing permanent residents were diagnosed with cancer last year, according to Wang Ning, deputy director of the Beijing Cancer Control and Prevention Office. That translated into 110 new diagnoses a day last year, compared with an average of 63 cases a decade ago, Wang said.

Cancer accounted for 27 per cent of all deaths in the capital last year, the report said. The other leading killers were heart disease and cerebrovascular disease, with the three responsible for 74 per cent of deaths, it said.

The most prevalent form of cancer among men was lung cancer, followed by colorectal cancer and liver cancer.

The top concern for women was breast cancer, then lung cancer and colorectal cancer.

Lung cancer remains the most common - and deadliest - cancer in the world, with an estimated 1.8 million new cases and 1.59 million deaths in 2012.

More than a third of the cases occurred in China, according to a report released by the World Health Organisation in February.

"Several reasons contributed to the high incidence of lung cancer, including smoking and secondary smoking, an increasingly greying society and environmental problems," said Zhi Xiuyi, director of the Lung Cancer Treatment Centre at the Capital Medical University.

"We need to change to a healthier lifestyle, starting with quitting smoking," Zhi said.

The thyroid cancer rate has almost quadrupled in the past 10 years, and now stood at 15.74 per 100,000 people, becoming the city's fastest growing cancer. There was no clear explanation for the rise, but the report said popular thinking attributed it to improved detection.

The report said Beijing residents were among the healthiest in China, with life expectancy hitting 81.51 years, in line with the figure for developed countries.

But it also gave an average for "healthy life expectancy". The concept takes into account the number of years a person could expect to live in full health after factoring in disease or injury. It found 18-year-old residents had 40.17 healthy years left.

"We lose 10 to 20 years of life due to diseases and other handicapping factors and the major factor for lower healthy life expectancy is non-communicable diseases," the report said.

The report comes as the capital struggles to improve air quality, with levels of fine-particle pollutants, which can enter the bloodstream through the lungs, among the highest in the world.