Cancer was the most lethal illness in China in 2006, the Ministry of Health revealed on Monday.
Cancer topped the list of ten most lethal diseases for urban residents in China last year, followed by cerebrovascular disease and heart disease, according to a survey by the ministry in 30 cities and 78 counties.
In rural areas, 92 percent of fatalities were caused by ten kinds of illnesses, the first three being cancer, cerebrovascular disease and respiratory disease.
The death rate from cancer has risen 19 percentage points in cities and 23 percent in rural areas from 2005, the survey says, without giving the exact figure.
The number of cancer patients has been soaring in China since the 1970s. About 80 percent of cancer patients died from common cancers of the lungs, liver and stomach, according to previously released figures.
(Xinhua News Agency May 9, 2007)