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Breast cancer cases rise quickly in China

Martin Guo

Editor-in-Chief, Kantar China Insights

Health 28.10.2016 / 06:00


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New incidents of breast cancer have been growing quickly. In 2015, breast cancer is the fifth most common cancer type.

October is the Breast Cancer Awareness Month. According to Kantar Health’s latest National Health and Wellness Survey, the new incidents of breast cancer in China have been rising quickly in recent years. The survey estimated that 125,458 cases were reported in 2000, equivalent to about 50% of the United States, which has the most reported breast cancer cases in the world. The number of breast cancer incidents kept increasing quickly in recent years. By 2015, the estimated annual new incidents in China reached 278,236, nearly 90% of that in the US.

Kantar Health's National Health and Wellness Survey is the largest global self-reported general population survey in the healthcare industry. It now has more than 1.5 million survey respondents in 10 countries.

The survey shows that in 2015, breast cancer is the fifth most common cancer type for Chinese, contributing 10% of all cancer incidents, behind non-small cell lung cancer (23%), stomach cancer (22%), liver cancer (13%) and colorectal cancer (12%).

“The prevalence of breast cancer in China has been relatively low. Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer in the US, UK and Brazil, and second most common in France and Spain. But it has gained lots of momentum in China these years – the growth rate doubled that of global average, especially fast in urban area. Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer for Chinese women now,” said Adele Li, Research Director of Kantar Health China. “There are lots of risk factors related to breast cancer. But the most important driver behind the fast growth of breast cancer in China is the changing pattern of childbearing.

“Leading risk factors of breast cancer, besides genetics, include lack of childbearing, or bearing first child later than 35, or lack of breastfeeding,” Adele explained. “Now in urban China, we see very big increase in single women, married women without a child and average first childbearing age, as well as continuous decline in breastfeeding. All these factors contribute to the increase of breast cancer incidents.”

Kantar Health’s National Health and Wellness Survey and CancerMPact also uncover data around treatment of oncology on a global scale. In the US and EU5, early-stage patients are more likely to undergo breast conserving surgery (BCS) along with radiotherapy (RT). More aggressive surgical procedures, such as mastectomies, are more often reserved for advanced Stage III patients.

Japan  is similar to the US and EU5 in use of BCS and RT; however, about one-quarter of the patients in Stage I-II may undergo a mastectomy, which is higher than the rate observed in the US and EU5.

Source: Kantar Health

Editor's notes

* Data source for infographic: Kantar Health National Health and Wellness Survey; US, Brazil, China data updated in 2015, UK, Spain, France data updated in 2016, all data onwards are estimated;

* To reach the author, or to know more information, data and analysis of health industry, please contact us ;

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