Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Deputy Secretary-General Steve Chan (詹啟賢) yesterday dismissed a media report that Vice President Vincent Siew (蕭萬長) had been diagnosed with lung cancer before the presidential election in March last year and that he had helped Siew conceal his condition.
“Would a person who had been diagnosed with cancer postpone his operation until he was elected?” asked Chan, former superintendent of the Tainan-based Chi Mei Medical Center, in response to a report in the Chinese-language China Times yesterday.
The report said there was speculation within the KMT that Siew had consulted Chan and been diagnosed with lung adenocarcinoma before the election.
The rumor began circulating when President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) left for a 10-day state visit to Central America on May 26, with some KMT members discussing the possibility of Siew being replaced, the report said.
Siew had surgery at Taipei Veterans General Hospital on May 20 to have two tumors removed. He was discharged from the hospital on Wednesday and is expected to undergo targeted therapy.
Chan called a press conference at KMT headquarters yesterday afternoon and demanded that the China Times run a correction.
Chan said Siew had always taken his health exams at National Taiwan University Hospital, except for the one time when Siew visited him at the center in Tainan in May 2006.
“How could I have diagnosed [Siew] with cancer during the [presidential] campaign when the only time I had conducted a health exam on [Siew] was three years ago?” Chan asked.
“Whoever started the rumor has an ulterior motive and people who believe it lack common sense,” he said. “Anyone with medical knowledge would know that the surgery would not have gone so smoothly if the cancer was detected three years ago.”
Chan said what was found in Siew’s left lung during his health exam at Chi Mei Medical Center that year was a tubercle, which tested negative.
Chan said he reminded Siew at the time to make sure he did follow-up examinations.
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