Cancer is one of the leading causes of deaths in China, with over two million people in the country dying of the disease every year, said Wang Ying, General Secretary of the Chinese Anti-cancer Association.
Speaking at the International Cancer Forum in Beijing on Friday, Wang cited a 2012 World Health Organization report as saying that each year 2.1 million Chinese people die due to cancer, accounting for 26% of the total cancer deaths worldwide.
Wang added that the number of annual new cancer cases has reached over 3.3 million in the country.
Cases of breast cancer, lung cancer and rectal cancer, which are usually more prevalent in developed countries, have increased in China in recent years, largely due to unhealthy living habits, including high-fat and high-calorie diets and insufficient exercise, according to Wang.
In addition, Wang said the rate of “cancers of poverty” — stomach cancers and esophageal cancers, for example— is also high, although China has seen huge economic growth in recent years. She explained they mainly result from food deficiency issues and poor living conditions.
According to official data as of the end of 2014, there were some 70 million people living in poverty in China. At a recent Global Poverty Reduction and Development Forum held in Beijing, President Xi Jinping has pledged that the country will lift all these people out of poverty by 2020.
Wang’s address and the figures have led to heated discussions on Sina Weibo, China’s biggest micro-blogging platform.
“Smog, food safety issues, pollution, and the enormous pressure from life… how can we live healthy? ” @Fantexibeizhucele.
“It’s nothing astonishing. Our population accounts for over 20% of the world’s…”@_nvl.
“I hope we’ll have a better environment, safer foods and more effective supervision so as to have better health and lives,” @Zhongjiaxifuxiaofen.