China advances the fight against cancer with 9 particle therapy centers
China is moving up the ladder to become a powerhouse in the fight against cancers with advanced particle therapy as a powerful tool, statistics show.
Particle therapy is the most advanced radiotherapy technique that treats cancer patients with protons or heavy ions, with carbon ions used the most, as to precisely kill tumors without harming surrounding healthy cells.
May data released by the Particle Therapy Co-Operative Group (PTCOG) show that China is building 12 new particle therapy facilities, including one in Hong Kong and one in Taiwan, known as the largest number of such facilities under construction worldwide.
Currently, China has 9 such facilities in clinical operation, including four in Taiwan.
Notably, the Shanghai Proton and Heavy Ion Center (SPHIC) integrates proton and heavy ion therapies, making it the first of its kind in China and the third in the world.
Another eight, including two in Taiwan, are in planning stages.
Radiotherapy has come as a major adjunctive treatment against cancers, which is used on 70 percent of patients. It's now revolving from photon radiotherapy to ion radiotherapy, according to Kong Lin, professor from SPHIC, during a lecture held over the weekend at the Shanghai Science and Technology Museum.
The boom comes with increasing demands. Statistics show the number of new cancer cases in China is nearly 4.57 million in 2020, accounting for 23.7 percent of the global total. Lung cancers (17.9%), stomach cancers (10.5) and breast cancers (9.1%) are the three biggest killers.
Patron and ion therapies are ideal for cancers taking place in the chest, Kong said.