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China Offers Free Breast Cancer Exams for 530,000 Women

China will offer free breast cancer exams for 530,000 women from 53 counties and districts in 30 provinces and municipalities, officials said on Thursday.

The project was launched by the Ministry of Public Health here, with a special fund of 19.38 million yuan (about US$2.7 million).

"The check-up program is intended to find breast cancer patients at an early stage and provide timely treatment," said Kong Lingzhi, deputy director of the Disease Control and Prevention Bureau of the ministry.

The incidence of breast cancer has risen in recent years and it has become the most prevalent form of cancer in coastal areas of China, said Hao Xishan, a leading official of the project who is also the chairman of the Chinese Anti-cancer Association and an expert at the Chinese Academy of Engineering.

The project mainly targets women without a history of cancer, aged from 35 to 69 years old, who have lived at their current residences for more than 30 years, Hao said.

Hao said that the examination would be voluntary.

Early diagnosis was the best cure for breast cancer, Hao said. More than 90 percent of patients diagnosed in the early stages of the disease could be cured, while only 70 percent and 50 percent could be cured at the medium and final stages, respectively.

(Xinhua News Agency March 14, 2008)

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