Original Article

National cancer incidence and mortality in China, 2012

Wanqing Chen, Rongshou Zheng, Tingting Zuo, Hongmei Zeng, Siwei Zhang, Jie He


Background: Population-based cancer registration data in 2012 from all available cancer registries were collected by the National Central Cancer Registry (NCCR). NCCR estimated the numbers of new cancer cases and cancer deaths in China with compiled cancer incidence and mortality rates.
Methods: In 2015, there were 261 cancer registries submitted cancer incidence and deaths occurred in 2012. All the data were checked and evaluated based on the NCCR criteria of data quality. Qualified data from 193 registries were used for cancer statistics analysis as national estimation. The pooled data were stratified by area (urban/rural), gender, age group [0, 1–4, 5–9, 10–14, …, 85+] and cancer type. New cancer cases and deaths were estimated using age-specific rates and corresponding national population in 2012. The Chinese census data in 2000 and Segi’s population were applied for age-standardized rates. All the rates were expressed per 100,000 person-year.
Results: Qualified 193 cancer registries (74 urban and 119 rural registries) covered 198,060,406 populations (100,450,109 in urban and 97,610,297 in rural areas). The percentage of cases morphologically verified (MV%) and death certificate-only cases (DCO%) were 69.13% and 2.38%, respectively, and the mortality to incidence rate ratio (M/I) was 0.62. A total of 3,586,200 new cancer cases and 2,186,600 cancer deaths were estimated in China in 2012. The incidence rate was 264.85/100,000 (289.30/100,000 in males, 239.15/100,000 in females), the age-standardized incidence rates by Chinese standard population (ASIRC) and by world standard population (ASIRW) were 191.89/100,000 and 187.83/100,000 with the cumulative incidence rate (0–74 age years old) of 21.82%. The cancer incidence, ASIRC and ASIRW in urban areas were 277.17/100,000, 195.56/100,000 and 190.88/100,000 compared to 251.20/100,000, 187.10/100,000 and 183.91/100,000 in rural areas, respectively. The cancer mortality was 161.49/100,000 (198.99/100,000 in males, 122.06/100,000 in females), the age-standardized mortality rates by Chinese standard population (ASMRC) and by world standard population (ASMRW) were 112.34/100,000 and 111.25/100,000, and the cumulative mortality rate (0–74 years old) was 12.61%. The cancer mortality, ASMRC and ASMRW were 159.00/100,000, 107.231/100,000 and 106.13/100,000 in urban areas, 164.24/100,000, 118.22/100,000 and 117.06/100,000 in rural areas, respectively. Cancers of lung, stomach, liver, colorectum, esophagus, female breast, thyroid cervix, brain tumor and pancreas were the most common cancers, accounting for about 77.4% of all cancer new cases. Lung cancer, liver cancer, stomach cancer, esophageal cancer, colorectal cancer, pancreatic cancer, female breast cancer, brain tumor, leukemia and lymphoma were the leading causes of cancer death, accounting for about 84.5% of all cancer deaths. The cancer spectrum showed difference between urban and rural, males and females both in incidence and mortality rates.
Conclusions: Cancer surveillance information in China is making great progress with the increasing number of cancer registries, population coverage and the improving data quality. Cancer registration plays a fundamental role in cancer control by providing basic information on population-based cancer incidence, mortality, survival and time trend. The disease burden of cancer is serious in China, so that, cancer prevention and control, including health education, health promotion, cancer screening and cancer care services in China, should be enhanced.