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  • Conversation: Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers in China - and it is on the rise

    • June 21, 2018 1:02 PM BST
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      Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers in China - and it is on the rise

      Among women in China, rates of breast cancer rose around 3.5% each year between 2000 and 2013. In comparison, breast cancer among American women decreased by about 0.4% a year over the same timeframe. China's rapid urbanisation and development of multiple 'megacities' - a city with 10 million or more inhabitants - reveals higher rates of breast cancer in urban areas, and in more densely-populated areas. In Chinese cities where the population is 1 million or more, the incidence of breast cancer is 60 per 100,000 women.
      Dr. Lee Schwartzberg, Executive Director of the West Cancer Center, a leading oncology research and treatment practice, and oncology scientific lead at George Clinical says the increase in breast cancer among women in China is likely due to many factors.
      "There are various risk factors associated with breast cancer. These include being less physically active, consuming alcohol or having an unhealthy diet. For women, reproductive factors, like having fewer children, might increase risk."
      China's notorious one-child policy was in place from the late 1970s until 2015 (when it was replaced with a two-child policy) and reduced the country's birth rate. The average age of women at the birth of their first child has also risen, as has contraceptive use, and rates of breastfeeding - which has been linked to a reduced risk of breast cancer - have declined.
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