Comparing Cancer Survival Rates in Australia and China
I read recently that in China, many people feel that a diagnosis of cancer means that life is over and no matter what, treatment is in vain. This makes people avoid seeking a diagnosis or participating in screening because they are afraid of the results. This article is to show you that this does not have to be the way and that, for several reasons, being brave can mean that you live a longer, healthier life.
最近我看了一些关于中国的资料，发现很多中国人认为一旦被诊断为癌症，那就完了, 就等同绝症，所有的治疗手段都是徒劳。这个想法让人们对诊断癌症心生畏惧，不想去接受诊断, 经常还不想去看病为了检查身体。本文作者想通过这篇文章告诉中国的朋友事实并非如此，勇敢的面对则意味着健康长寿。
The most interesting thing is that in Australia, the mortality rate for many commonly occurring cancers is much lower than in China. For example, although 17000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer every year (incidence rate of 151 in every 100,000 men), 93% of these men will still be living after 5 years. Compared to the life expectancy in the 1980s when only 56% survived that long, this is a tremendous difference. In China, however, although the incidence is smaller at about 5 in every 100,000 or 60,000 new cases every year the 5 year survival rate is only around 50%. Overall, the survival rate of cancer patients in China is 36% but in Australia it is 68%. If we can transfer some of the experience and expertise of Australia’s cancer health care to China, that would mean a total of 1.3 million extra lives could be saved. What about the cost, some might ask? Well, Australia spends approximately 9% of its GDP on healthcare, while China spends 5.5% but with the aim to increase spending to 7% as part of the healthcare reforms so the costs are comparable.To put that in context, in 2015 Australia spent $4207 USD per capita on healthcare, while China spent $731 USD, but the cost of care is different, e.g. an MRI in Australia is $400 USD, while in China it is just $36–75 USD (or 240–500 RMB), meaning both are approximately 10% of the per capita spending.
事实上在澳洲，许多常见癌症的死亡率比在中国低。例如，现在澳洲每年有17千男性被诊断患有前列腺癌（发病率为每10万人有151人），但是这些人中有93%的患者仍然5年后还存活着。相比在20世纪80年代，这一百分比仅为56%。最根本的原因就是治疗水平的不同和例行筛查。目前在中国，尽管前列腺癌的发病率为每10万人有5个人(每年新增6万),存活率超过五年的仅为50%左右。总体来看，在中国癌症患者的存活率是36%, 但是在澳大利亚是68%。如果我们可以将澳洲治疗癌症先进的经验和专家引进到中国，那将意味着可以拯救1300万人的生命。那么,有些人可能要问，那么成本呢？在澳大利亚，政府将9%的GDP用于公共医疗事业，在中国这一数据是5.5%，但是中国医疗改革的目标是将这一数值提升到7%，从这个角度来看，两国政府在这方面投入相当。为了说明这一点,澳大利亚的人均医疗保健费用在2015年是4207美元,而中国则花费了731美元。 但是这两个国家的医疗保健价格是不一样的。 比如说,在澳大利亚磁共振成像扫描成本400美元,而在中国的成本36–75美元,意味着两个都是人均费用的10% 左右。
So what are some of the reasons behind this huge difference in outcomes between Australia and China? The first is recommended screening programs. We have free screening for breast, cervical and colorectal cancer for at risk members of the population, which usually means those people over the age of 50. And although there isn’t a formal screening program for prostate cancer, many older men get checked anyway. There are also many useful guidelines which inform doctors about when certain tests are needed and what the results mean for the patient’s risk of cancer. Even though sometimes people can be very afraid to find out a diagnosis of cancer, they still go and get screened because they know that the earlier an abnormality is found, the better their likelihood of being cured is. In fact, the majority of prostate cancer in Australia is found at Stage I or II whereas in China, it is found much later, at Stages III or IV when treatment is much more difficult, expensive and likely to fail.
Another reason for such good outcomes is the improvement in diagnostics over the years and their adoption by Australian healthcare providers. In addition to state of the art blood and genetic testing, imaging has also been a new frontier in being able to detect and localise various types of cancer, and it tends to be much less invasive than traditional techniques which means people are more likely to participate in these screening programs. Improvements in Artificial Intelligence software too has had a big impact on how well cancer is diagnosed in medical imaging. Both Australian and Chinese engineers, like Infervision based in Beijing and Maxwell MRI in Brisbane, are working on some great solutions to improving accuracy of diagnosis using imaging.
对于澳洲癌症患者的更好结果还有一个原因是这些年癌症诊断技术的发展以及澳洲医疗供应商用这些新技术的很快接受。除了最先进的血样和基因测试，在检测和诊断各种癌症方面，图像也成为了新的前沿技术。和传统技术相比，它具有更少的伤害性，推动人们参与癌症检测计划也会更容易一些。同时，随着人工智能软件的提升，其在通过影像诊断癌症方面有重大影响。中澳双方的工程师,例如位于北京的Infervision公司和位于布里斯班的Maxwell MRI公司, 都正在为医疗影像人工智能技术在癌症诊断的精准性方面做着努力。
The last reason is the expertise in cancer treatment. Many highly trained doctors in Australia traveled to the USA and Europe to train in the most advanced cancer treatment hospitals like Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. They bring this knowledge of new treatments and experience using new technology back to Australia with great success. Additionally, we also have CancerAid, the world’s first app for patients to connect with cancer care specialists and to manage their cancer care journey.
How can we apply these lessons to help improve the outcomes in China? The first is by understanding your personalised risk of certain cancers and being brave enough to find out more. Given that the survival rate in China is only 36%, there will be many families left without a father or mother, a provider or carer if the cancer is found too late. This is why screening is so important. You can save not just your own life but the lives of the loved ones you care for. And if you rely on your children, the cost of cancer treatment also dramatically increases the later it is found so by participating in early screening you can lessen the stress on your children for financial support and care.
The next point is to promote the flow of information and expertise between Australia and China. It is well known that if a patient is unsure about a treatment option or a diagnosis cannot be provided by a local doctor, it is possible to seek a second opinion. At Maxwell MRI, we want to provide this kind of service to the people of China so that the experience of our doctors can help more than just our own population. Since the risk of cancer depends on the individual, we can also provide personalised tests to help people understand whether they should do screening, what tests to get and what the results might mean for them. In Australia, we provide this service and tracking of any test results for free. Lastly, we use AI along with trained doctors to provide diagnosis from medical images to make the results faster and more accurate so we would love to give Chinese patients additional support in areas where the expertise for cancer diagnosis might be lacking. So how can you help us bring these services to the people who need and want them? If you are interested or think your friends or parents could use these services to improve their healthcare experience, let us know at the link below:
下一点是推动中澳两国见信息流，促进沟通，让专业人员多交流经验与心得。大家都明白，如果一个病人对治疗方案拿不定主意或者当地医生诊断不了时，那么这个病人可能会再去看别的医生为了寻求第二意见。我们Maxwell MRI,愿意为中国人提供这种服务,以便我们有经验的医生可以帮助到中国的朋友。因为癌症的风险因人而异，我们也可以提供一对一的服务，通过测试让他们明白是否应该接受检测，做哪些测试以及帮助他们对测试结果进行分析。在澳洲,我们免费提供这种服务. 最终，我们通过人工智能技术和训练有素的澳洲医疗专家一起提供癌症影像诊断服务，更好更快更精准的诊断癌症。我们更愿意为中国癌症专家缺乏的地区, 特别是偏远地区的人们,提供癌症诊断服务。如果您有兴趣了解或者您认为您亲人朋友可能会对相关资讯有兴趣，请在下面的链接注册你的兴趣：