If you have ever pondered leaving or coming to Beijing, but were hesitant because of the capital city’s smog, food safety, traffic congestion, etc., this map of Beijing’s cancer cases may help you make a decision.
Beijing Cancer Hospital recently released a map of cancer cases by district. Out of the 16 districts and counties, Fengtai has the highest incidence of cancer, while Yanjing has the lowest. As can be seen on the map, the more towards the center of the city, the higher the chance of developing cancer. Wang Ning from Beijing Cancer Hospital tells a reporter from Chinese language newspaper Jinghua that cancer was considered rare in the 70s, where there were only 6000 cases of cancer diagnosed per year in Beijing’s 4 districts. Yet the number of cancer cases has increased over the years, where in 2010 the number of new cancer patients reached 37,000.
Don’t panic, the number does not take the huge migrant population into account, Wang Ning emphasized later in the article:
“On the ‘Map of Cancer’, the color of the area does not indicate that people in the area are prone to having cancer. Cancer is a slow disease, and it could take at least 10 years to get cancer. At the present, the city has a large migrant population, dwellers and their hukou are separate. The new areas are developing fast. For example, Tiantongyuan and Huilongguan in Changping district have densely populated mega communities, and concentrated population and large aging population both contribute to a high number of the incidence of cancer…. Residents living in ‘darker colored areas’ should not panic over getting cancer because of the living environment.”
At the same time, cancer patients were exposed to whatever cancerous triggers they may have encountered 10 years ago, so the map is not indicative of whether an area’s current environment and its frequency of cancer are correlative. Haidian District has a low number because of its large university population, Wang Ning says. Lung cancer is the number 1 cancer in males and number 2 in females, but Wang believes that 90% of them could have been cured if discovered in time. Breast cancer has been the top cancer for females for the past 36 years, while males are increasing getting “rich cancers” like colorectal cancer, because of unhealthy lifestyles.