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Healthcare reforms have gone a long way towards treating cancer

by Tom Pattinson
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Cancer treatment China

Healthcare reforms have improved China’s medical care significantly in recent years. An upcoming UK-China Oncology Congress will go a step further in helping cancer patients, writes Tom Pattinson

Healthcare reform in China has helped improve the lives of millions in recent years. “Healthy China 2020” plans to provide universal healthcare and treatment for all by 2020, and in 2016, “Healthy China 2030” was launched to further promote healthy living and lifestyle choices. It aims to raise life expectancy to 79 whilst introducing further reforms to health insurance and expanding pharmaceutical and medical systems.

Gradual but significant changes to health insurances have already taken place, with the state contributing more to per capita insurance policies, and introducing measures that encourage employers to contribute more to their staff’s insurance policies. Urban areas have had more success than their rural counterparts but these policies, combined with increased privatisation in the medical sector, have brought benefits to the population whilst providing opportunities for international business.

For all of these recent successes, China still accounts for approximately 20 percent of the world’s new cancer cases and 27 percent of the world’s cancer deaths. Five-year survival rates in China are around a third lower than in the UK.

Britain is a world leader in cancer research and treatment and, this month, is jointly organising an Oncology Congress with China. For this, the Department for International Trade, together with the China National Cancer Centre, an organisation established by the Chinese Ministry of Health to develop the National Cancer Strategy, are assembling academic and industrial expertise from both countries.

UK’s high level innovation and advanced technologies in digital healthcare and national cancer database can help China greatly

More than 600 experts will join the congress, where the UK will showcase its excellence in oncology with a large-scale trade exhibition and presentations from innovative and experienced NHS and international suppliers. This will be complemented by a series of academic seminars and expert exchanges featuring high-profile speakers with significant experience of working with Chinese partners.

“The Royal Marsden Private Care views collaboration with China as vital to improving cancer care for patients worldwide,” says Shams Maladwala, Managing Director, Private Care, The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust. “The Royal Marsden provides leading-edge oncology treatment and care to Chinese patients who travel to the UK, many of whom are not able to access the same level of care at home due to the rapid increase in demand for cancer services. There are also significant opportunities for research and education collaboration between The Royal Marsden and Chinese institutions to share best practice and develop new treatments,” he continued.

The congress will address clinical care and approaches as well as new scientific advances in oncology. “China is seeing great innovation in digital healthcare, with support from government combining with efforts from the private sector,” says David Shi, CEO of Digital China Health. “Digital China Health is the only private company developing the National Cancer Big Data Platform, in partnership with the National Cancer Centre. The UK’s high level of innovation and advanced technologies in digital healthcare and work with the national cancer database can help China greatly. We look forward to learning from the UK’s experience and sharing our thoughts in exploring the unprecedented potential of cancer big data. Collaboration with the UK will contribute to the establishment of this in China.”

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