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Colorectal cancer takes deadly toll

THE incidence of colorectal cancer in Shanghai has risen from fourth position to the second most prevalent following lung cancer.

The 2008 figures revealed an alarming and national trend, with the city having about 5,000 new cases a year, health officials told a medical forum yesterday.

There are up to 150,000 new cases a year on the mainland and this is still growing by 4.2 percent annually due to an unhealthy lifestyle, a fatty and high-sugar diet, poor awareness and an increase in the elderly population, according to a report released by the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

Colorectal cancer is also the fourth most frequent cause of death from cancer in China, following cancers linked to lungs, the gastric system and the liver.

"The best way to control colorectal cancer is early detection," said Cai Sanjun, a professor at the Shanghai Cancer Hospital. "About 90 percent of people detected with the disease in its early stages can enjoy a long survival after treatment. But 80 percent of our patients are found to have cancer at an advanced stage and miss the best timing for treatment."

People at high risk, such as those with a family history and with other colorectal ailments, should receive screening tests regularly from the age of 30, Cai said. However, people should generally have an annual test from the age of 40.

The cancer is usually most prevalent among people aged 60 or older.

A community-based chronic disease intervention program was also unveiled in the city yesterday.

After a one-year pilot operation, the program, launched by Project HOPE, a non-profit global charity organization, and Philips China, will be promoted in Beijing, Guangzhou in Guangdong Province and Wuhan in Hubei Province.

The aim is to build up a new chronic disease management model linking leading hospitals with community health care centers while enhancing patient care.


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