• Cancer accounts for 27.4 percent of deaths in China.

Cancer accounts for 27.4 percent of deaths in China. (Photo : Getty Images)

According to a report issued by the Beijing Health and Family Planning Commission, cancer has topped the list of causes of premature deaths in the Chinese capital, China Daily reported.

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It was a first for the commission to release a report on premature death, which is defined by a death of an individual before reaching the age of 70.

"If a person dies at 40, he or she is considered to have lost 30 potential years of life," Zheng Xiaopeng, an official at the Beijing Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said.

"The premature mortality rate is a measure that gives more weight to the death of younger people," he further remarked, emphasizing that the rate could "be a guide to the health department to take a preventive action."

The study showed that 27.4 percent of all deaths in the city was caused by cancer--a 4.3 percent increase from the 2014 figure.

The commission stated that, in particular, lung, colorectal and liver cancer were the top three kinds of cancer that led to the most number of deaths in Beijing in 2015.

However, "what calls for special attention is that thyroid cancer saw significant growth among women in Beijing," as pointed out by Wang Ning, the deputy director of Beijing Cancer Treatment and Prevention Research Office.

The report said that from 2005 to 2014, the number of women in Beijing who are diagnosed with thyroid cancer increased from 2.35 to 15 out of every 100,000 people.

Other chronic diseases included in the list are cardiovascular disease, diabetes and chronic respiratory illness.

Earlier in 2012, the World Health Organization (WHO) has already called on its members to intensify their efforts in reducing premature deaths caused by chronic illnesses. The group has set a target of decreasing the deaths by 25 percent come 2025.

The China Daily article noted that "chronic disease is threatening more Chinese."

In a report released by WHO in April, the number of Chinese with diabetes is currently estimated at 110 million.

Meanwhile, in Beijing, around two out of 10 people under 18 years old are considered obese or overweight.