Background: Cancer deaths of China with the world population nearly a quarter will have a severe impact on global cancer trend and burden. The study aims to provide a comprehensive overview of long-term trends in cancer mortality in China. Materials and methods: We used joinpoint analysis to detect changes in trends and generalized additive models to study birth cohort effect of risk factors between 1987 and 2009. Results: Mortality of all cancers declined steadily in urban areas, but not in rural areas. Decreasing mortality from cancers of the stomach, esophagus, nasopharynx, and cervix uteri was observed, while lung and female breast cancer mortality increased. Mortality from leukemia remained relatively stable, and cancer of liver, colorectal, and bladder had different trends between the rural and urban areas. Generational risks peaked in the cohorts born around 1925-1930 and tended to decline in successive cohorts for most cancers except for leukemia, whose relative risks were rising in the very recent cohorts. Conclusion: The observed trends primarily reflect dramatic changes in socioeconomic development and lifestyle in China over the past two decades, and mortality from cancers of lung and female breast still represents a major public health priority for the government. © The Author 2012. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the European Society for Medical Oncology. All rights reserved.
Department of Preventive Medicine, Shantou University Medical College, Shantou, China