Cancer prevention and control: Alarming challenges in China

Ann M. Bode, Zigang Dong, Hongyang Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

62 Scopus citations


China is geographically the third largest country in the world and the most populated low-to-middle-income country. Cancer incidence and mortality rates for some cancers in the USA and European countries have steadily decreased over the last decades, whereas the incidence and mortality of certain cancers in China have been increasing at an alarming speed. Rapid industrialization and urbanization in China have been accompanied by incredible changes in lifestyle and environment combined with an aging population. Mortality caused by lung, colorectal and breast cancers has been steadily increasing, whereas cancer mortality from gastric, esophageal and cervical tumors has tended to decrease. Similar to what has occurred in the United States, unhealthy lifestyles in China, including heavy smoking and poor diet combined with pollution, have contributed to increased cancer risk. China is facing many challenges in cancer treatment and prevention for the general population. The major areas that need to be addressed in the control of cancer in China include cancers associated with environmental pollution, tobacco use, occupational carcinogens, infection, excessive alcohol consumption, dietary deficiencies and obesity. In this perspective, we review the problems in each area and suggest ideas for future directions in cancer research and strategies and actions to reduce the incidence of cancer in China.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)117-127
Number of pages11
JournalNational Science Review
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 26 2016

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (81221061), the Hormel Foundation and National Institutes of Health grants (CA166011, CA172457, CA196639, CA187027, R37 CA081064).

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2016. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of China Science Publishing & Media Ltd. All rights reserved.


  • Alcohol
  • Cancer incidence
  • Cancer preventioncover-date
  • Dietary deficiencies
  • Environmental pollution
  • Infection-caused cancers
  • Obesity
  • Occupational carcinogens
  • Tobacco use and control


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