China’s rising cancer rate drives prevention plan

Beijing, Sep 14 (IANS) Health officials seeking to curb China’s increasing cancer rate are implementing a three-year nationwide plan that expands cancer screening, registration and prevention while reducing smoking, the media reported on Monday.

Cancer has become a major public health problem, with some 2 million people dying of it every year and more than three million new cases reported annually, the National Health and Family Planning Commission said.

“The prevention of cancer cannot be achieved in a short period,” said Chen Wanqing, director of the National Central Cancer Registry, which the commission established to track cases in 2002, the China Daily reported.

“We are working on a medium-and long-term plan now, and that plan will provide profound guidance,” he added.

China’s aging population, environmental pollution and unhealthy lifestyles have escalated the country’s cancer incidence rate and death rate in recent years.

Specific goals of the three-year prevention plan include increasing cancer patient registration to 30 percent of the country’s population, increasing the percentage of the population that has essential knowledge of cancer prevention to 60 percent and reducing the smoking rate among adults by 3 percent.

To ensure implementation, the plan also clarified the individual departments’ responsibilities.

The education department, for example, is responsible for health education on cancer prevention for primary and secondary school students.

The environmental protection department is expected to deal with major environmental pollution threats.

The plan also encourages the creation of new anti-tumour medications to help reduce the economic burden for cancer patients, and an expansion of basic medical insurance coverage for major diseases such as cancer.

The plan’s goals are both practical and achievable, Chen added.

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