New challenges arise as more survive cancer for longer
Cancer patients living in Shanghai are surviving longer than the national average, prompting new approaches to cancer care, including the development of special exercises and more community based services.
There are currently 350,000 cancer patients living in the city, 53% of whom are expected to survive for more than five years, according to the Shanghai Center for Disease Control and Prevention. That's significantly higher than the national level of 30%.
With the rising number of long-term survivors, the city's cancer prevention and control tactics have had to change from simply giving treatment to survival management and comprehensive treatment.
Most patients demand community-based rehabilitation services and direction instead of visiting hospitals regularly. In addition to medical services, they also want guidance on nutrition, psychology and sports to improve life quality, reduce relapse and drop mortality, officials said.
Proper exercise is one of the factors leading to longer survival rates among cancer sufferers.
Shanghai CDC conducted a survey on 5,000 breast cancer patients between 20 and 74 years old and found the mortality rate among those exercising within six months of diagnosis was 20 percent lower than those not doing exercises.
The mortality keeps dropping 10 percent if exercise continues up until 18 months from diagnosis.
In order to better promote the benefits of exercise for cancer survivors, local authorities teamed up with makeup brand Estee Lauder to develop exercises for breast cancer patients. They also cooperated with Shanghai University of Sport to train coaches to promote the exercises in the community.
The exercises are aimed at promoting blood circulation and are also useful for healthy people. So far some 500 people, including 78 cancer patients, have learned the exercises.
In the future, these coaches will go to different communities to teach cancer patients — as well as healthy people — how to properly exercise.