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Breast cancer rates soar in Shanghai
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The incidence of breast cancer is rising 2.9 percent each year in Shanghai, making it the most common cancer among women in the city, medical experts from the Shanghai Center for Disease Control and Prevention said yesterday.

The incidence of all cancers increased 66 percent among local women in the past 33 years. This was mainly due to rises in breast, ovarian and cervical cancers.

"We found the incidence of breast cancer has risen 50 percent since the late 1980s," said Jin Fan, a doctor from the center's department of cancer control and prevention. "Some 3,700 local women are detected with breast cancer every year."

Improper diet, pollution, lack of exercise, obesity, smoking, exposure to second-hand smoke and poor personal hygiene all can increase a woman's chance of getting cancer, doctors said.

Under a project to promote breast cancer awareness, the center will launch breast exams and consultations at five neighborhood health centers this year after a successful trial at two community-based clinics in the districts of Zhabei and Minhang.

Education targeting young and middle-aged women about female cancer prevention will also be carried out this year.

"A healthy lifestyle, regular screening and visiting doctors in time are important to protect women from female cancers," Jin said.

"An increasing number of young women between 35 and 44 years are found with these cancers. Patients with breast cancer in this age group have doubled in recent years."

In addition to rising breast and ovarian cancers, experts said the incidence of cervical cancer has risen slightly since 1998 after dropping 90 percent under a citywide program to promote cervical cancer screening in the 1970s.

"Cervical cancer is preventable and curable, but the key is early detection and early treatment," according to Sui Long, a doctor from Fudan University's Maternity and Child Health Hospital.

"Since it is closely related with a sexually transmitted virus, proper sexual habits and fewer sex partners can be effective ways for women to protect themselves."

The hospital will offer free outpatient services and public lectures on women's diseases on Sunday, which is International Women's Day.

(Shanghai Daily March 6, 2009)

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