Cancer claims around 2.7 million lives in China annually, which means one death due to the disease every five minutes, according to an official report.
About one in five Chinese people might develop cancer if they live to be 74, the China Daily cited the 2012 Cancer Registry Annual Report as saying.
There is one death from cancer every five minutes on the Chinese mainland, which translates into 2.7 million cancer deaths annually, the report said.
The figures were based on data collected from 72 cancer surveillance sites in 24 provinces, covering 85 million people.
The cancer rate stood at 285.91 per 100,000 people, bringing 3.12 million new cases a year.
Lung, stomach, colorectal and liver cancers were among the top killers in China.
Liu Yuewu, a leading cancer specialist at a hospital in Beijing, said thyroid cancer must be the fastest growing cancer in recent years.
In 1986, the hospital performed surgery eight times for patients with thyroid cancer. The figure increased to 1,125 in 2012.
The Beijing Institute for Cancer Research said the incidence of thyroid cancer more than doubled in the capital in a decade.
An average of 7,300 people die from cancer on the mainland each day, the report said. Patients older than 60 years account for 63 percent of these deaths.