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Breast cancer up in China

ALTHOUGH breast cancer is on the rise worldwide, breast cancer mortality over the past 25 years has been stable or decreasing in some countries, according to the latest research by a Beijing hospital.

No. 3 Beijing Medical University Hospital and its collaborator on the study Estee Lauder Companies Inc published the results during the annual Estee Lauder Global Illuminations Initiative last week in Beijing.

October will be Breast Cancer Awareness Month worldwide.

The Art Museum of the China Central Academy of Fine Arts was lit up by glowing pink lights as part of the annual campaign. More than 200 landmarks will have been illuminated worldwide and once again it sent a clear message to women around the world about the importance of breast health and early detection.

Worldwide, breast cancer is the second-most prevalent cancer and is the most common cause of cancer-related deaths among women. The American Cancer Society estimates that in 2009 more than 1.3 million people worldwide were diagnosed with breast cancer. In China, the rate of breast cancer has also rapidly increased, and the situation is worse in big cities like Beijing and Shanghai. Cases increased by 47 percent in the last decade in the country.

The risk of breast cancer increases with age. However, Chinese breast cancer patients are relatively younger than their Western counterparts.

Last year, Estee Lauder Companies cooperated with No. 3 Beijing Medical University Hospital to conduct a case study on risk factors among Chinese women.

The objective was to investigate unknown risk factors contributing to rising rates.

Well-known risk factors include: family history of breast cancer, personal history of breast problems, never bearing a child or giving birth at an older age, lack of exercise, stress, and being overweight.

"In addition, the study identified new risk factors," said breast cancer expert Li Huiping.

"The risk of breast cancer increases as a person undergoes more X-ray exams and the accumulated radiation dose gets higher. Excessive intake of vitamin E supplements causing increased sex hormones might lead to increased risk of breast cancer."

She said that 26 percent of breast cancer patients had experienced severe mental issues caused by an accident, death of a loved one, financial problems, health problems or acute stress.


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