Pollution, especially air and water have been the biggest reasons for morbidity and mortality in China. Indeed, China is one of the leading polluters in the world. 16 of the world's most air-polluted cities are all found in China. The air in China is notoriously toxic, and its Environmental Sustainability Index ranks it among the worst globally (He, 2013). The economic boom, population growth that has seen an increase in motor vehicles, industrial pollution, has led to the high levels of pollution in China (Cui et al., 2017). Water pollution is also a huge problem for China. There is an inadequate amount of water in China for the bloated population which forces most of the population to draw water from contaminated sources which have health connotations in the long run. Due to the limited availability of water, the agricultural, industrial and domestic water use compete against each other for the water stretching them. Worse still, most of the Chinese water is considered polluted with only half of China's 200 rivers and a quarter of Chinese 28 lakes fit for consumption (Ayubi & Safiri, 2017). Diseases, particularly cancer have become a huge problem and burden for China especially considering the environmental agent pollution of water and air. Cancer has become more prevalent among the Chinese population. In 2015, 4.3 million cancer cases were reported in China which was more than any other country in the world (Cui et al., 2017). This paper aims at looking at pollution and how it affects cancer prevalence in China.
Cancer in China has risen over the last twenty years and from 2010 to date, has been the leading cause of death. Lung cancer particularly has risen from 1973 to 2012 by 306% (He, 2013). Although there are many different types of cancers in China, lung cancer is one of the most prevalent (He, 2013). The pollution in China is the leading reason for the prevalence of cancer in China. So bad is the number of deaths that the government is hiding the actual number of cancer cases as it is too much to bear.
Furthermore, in the Cancer Institute and Hospital in Beijing, the number of caseloads that are being reported daily is more than the hospital can handle. Not only here but in other hospitals as well. People can wait for up to months before being seen by a doctor, and at times, it is too late as the cancer is way advanced (Cui et al., 2017). To add to this, half of all Chinese men are smokers consuming a third of the global cigarettes. As such, the population itself is to blame for the rise as smoking is also a form of air pollution (Boffetta & Nyberg, 2003).
Cancer disparities are found in different population groups in China. As indicated above, there is a huge number of cancer cases that are related to smoking (He, 2013). Another population that has a huge prevalence and disparity are those in coal-producing provinces. Yet another is from urban centers such as Beijing that are heavily polluted. Cancer in China has also moved into the rural neighborhoods with rising prevalence. There is a disproportionate burden; however, that is borne by a particular group as compared to another (Cui et al., 2017). The disparity may be by geographical locations where an area has more cancer prevalence than others, new cases or incidences in a particular area also cause disparity in cancer as shown above (Flores-Rozas, 2011).
In conclusion, cancer is a disease that is unraveling to be one of the worst problems causing mankind and society in this new age. China is facing a huge task fighting cancer especially because the best, and the only way is by tackling the environment by reducing pollution. The environmental factors particularly pollution of the air and water have a huge effect on cancer spreading and prevalence in China. More needs to be done to counter this vice especially where the environment is concerned as it will help stop its prevalence and spreading.
Ayubi, E., & Safiri, S. (2017). The association of cancer risks with pentachlorophenol exposure: Focusing on community population in the areas along certain section of Yangtze River in China: Methodological issues. Environmental Pollution, 224, 515.
Boffetta, P., & Nyberg, F. (2003). Contribution of environmental factors to cancer risk. British Medical Bulletin, 68(1), 71-94.
Cui, Y., Liang, L., Zhong, Q., He, Q., Shan, X., Chen, K., & Huang, F. (2017). The association of cancer risks with pentachlorophenol exposure: Focusing on community population in the areas along certain section of Yangtze River in China. (Environmental pollution.
Flores-Rozas, H. (2011). Differential contribution of mismatch repair genes in the processing of DNA damage. Infectious Agents and Cancer, 6(Suppl 1), A6.
He, G. (2013). Essays on the Health Effects of Pollution in China. Berkeley, CA.
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