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Cancer Surge In China Prompts Rise Of Special Patient Hotels - Abc News

Her laundry dries on hangers and her husband cooks in a communal kitchen as she embarks on an 84-day program of chemotherapy, following the removal of part of her right breast. The youthful, soft-spoken 43-year-old, who works as a neighborhood watch leader back home in Henan province, is living in one of the many so-called cancer hotels that dot the neighborhood around the hospital, giving patients an affordable, cozy place to wait for appointments and undergo outpatient treatment. With lung, bowel and breast cancer rates surging in China, such hotels have sprouted up in big cities such as Beijing and Shanghai, part of an ad hoc response to what medical experts say is a growing health crisis challenging an unprepared medical system. "The treatment back home main page is different from here, so we came here," Li says in her bedroom, which is filled almost completely by her mattress. "At home, my insurance covers 85 percent of the cost. It'll be good if I can even get half of it covered here. But I'm doing this for my health. I'm looking for the right treatment." These patients venture far for treatment believing they can't find adequate care in hometowns, instead preferring to camp out near reputable, big-city hospitals to await their turn for care. They do that even though government health insurance often covers less of the cost of care in Beijing and other big cities than it does back home. The hotels, which mostly operate informally, don't provide nursing but put patients closer to medical services and experts, and give them a place to cook their own food and share tips with fellow patients. Despite their name, they are not traditional hotels, but furnished units in apartment blocks near medical facilities, charging as little as $7 a night per room. And while they occupy a legal gray zone, doctors often refer patients to them, and state-run media have published glowing articles about the need they are fulfilling. They reflect a health emergency that has seen the number of lung cancer diagnoses nationwide jump by 16 percent in two years, and the lung cancer rate in Beijing soar by 60 percent over a decade, according to Chinese government figures. Lung cancer mortality rates grew from around 50 per 100,000 men in 2000 to nearly 60 per 100,000 a dozen years later, World Health Organization data show. Breast cancer rates have also grown among women, killing almost as many of them yearly as lung cancer. By comparison, male lung cancer mortality rates in the United States have dropped from 55 per 100,000 people in 2000 to 40 in 2012, and from almost 25 per 100,000 Brazilian men in 2000 to 20 in 2012, according to WHO. Persistently high rates of smoking as well as toxic air pollution help explain much of the rise, said Angela Pratt, who leads WHO's work in China on tobacco control and non-communicable diseases such as cancer and heart disease. Visit http://abcnews.go.com/Health/wireStory/cancer-surge-china-prompts-rise-special-patient-hotels-30258881 for the full article.

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