Sun, Oct 01, 2017 - Page 6 News List

[ LETTERS ]

Not adding up

A Taipei Times article attributes two statements to National Taiwan University professor Yang Pan-chyr (楊泮池) that appear to justify the headline “Lung cancer among non-smokers double US figures” (Sept. 25, page 2).

The first is that his study on 6,465 non-smoking people with lung cancer who had undergone tests found that “148, or 2.29 percent, had lung adenocarcinoma, a common type of lung cancer.”

The second is that “in comparison, the US National Cancer Institute’s National Lung Screening Trial found that about 1.03 percent of chain smokers have lung adenocarcinoma, similar to the rate in Europe.”

The article goes on to discuss the presumed relationship between inheritance and environment in view of these statements.

The National Lung Screening Trial studied a group of heavy smokers or former smokers between the ages of 55 and 75 who had not previously been diagnosed with cancer.

The age range of the group studied by Yang is unclear, but the article states that the study included only non-smokers who had cancer and “a family history of lung cancer.”

It is difficult to believe that an article would compare the lung cancer cases of these two very different groups without a discussion of the group differences, much less make any attempt to draw conclusions from such a comparison.

Table 4 in the National Lung Screening Trial Research Team’s “Results of Initial Low-Dose Computed Tomographic Screening for Lung Cancer” (The New England Journal of Medicine, May 23, 2013) gives the number of cases diagnosed with adenocarcinoma as 118 out of 270 lung cancer cases discovered in the group that underwent “low-dose helical computed tomography (CT)” and 53 out of 136 lung cancer cases discovered in the group that underwent “chest radiography,” with the ratios of adenocarcinoma to total cases being 43.7 percent and 35.8 percent respectively.

The number of screened participants in each group is given as 26,309 and 26,035, with the ratio of new cases being 0.44 percent and 0.22 percent respectively.

None of these is close to the reported 1.03 percent.

Emilio Venezian

New Taipei City

Taiwan is semi-independent

Independence is an important matter for Taiwan and cannot be treated like a word game (“More independence word games,” Sept. 29, page 8) or a crime.

Premier William Lai (賴清德) has said that “We are already an independent country, the official title of which is the Republic of China (ROC).”

The former clause is a fact in relation to the People’s Republic of China (PRC), while the latter indicates that Taiwan is still dependent on the ROC.

During the eras of former presidents Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) and Chiang Ching-kuo (蔣經國), Taiwanese fought for independence from the ROC.

From when Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) became the first president up until today, Taiwanese have somehow switched to fighting for independence from the PRC, although its jurisdiction does not reach Taiwan.

Taiwan is a free and democratic nation, but people avoid talking about independence as if it were a crime, even though it is the only way to remain free and democratic.

According to the ROC Constitution, the territory of the ROC comprises a “free area” and a “mainland area.”

To claim the “mainland area” is a dream and mirage combined.

The ROC was defeated and replaced by the PRC in China — and in the UN. Even old Chiang declared the death of the ROC.

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