Tue, Apr 24, 2012 - Page 14 News List

Neglecting vitiligo increases risk of cancer
忽視白癜風 恐增罹癌風險

A hand with vitiligo is seen in this photograph taken in New Taipei City on April 11.
這張四月十一日攝於新北市的照片,是白癜風患者的手。

Photo courtesy of Shu Tien Clinic
照片由書田診所提供

A middle-aged man never went to the doctor as a young man when depigmented patches appeared on his hands because he did not have any symptoms that made him feel uncomfortable. However, every time he went to shake hands with customers once he started his own business, he felt as though the other person was scared.

Chan Heng-leong, vice director at Shu Tien Clinic and director of the clinic’s Medical Cosmetology Center, says that the prevalence rate of vitiligo in Taiwan is about one percent of the population, with an estimated 100,000 people suffering from the condition. It usually appears between the ages of 10 and 30, and 50 percent get it before they turn 20. Although vitiligo is not contagious and poses no immediate threat to a person’s life, people with vitiligo may be discriminated against because of how their skin looks, as it usually shows up on highly visible areas of the body.

Chan says the condition causes skin abnormalities because of abnormalities in the body’s melanocytes — cells primarily responsible for producing the skin pigment melanin — but says the main cause of vitiligo is still unknown. Certain clinical studies have shown that it might arise from genetic or autoimmune causes, or oxidative stress, thyroid dysfunction, hemoglobin deficiency or lack of melanocytes. It typically appears on the head, face, four limbs, armpits, and lower back. The size and amount vary from person to person. Severe cases can affect the entire body. Depigmented sections of the skin may gradually grow bigger or new areas may appear.

Chan says that depigmented skin areas lack the protection of melanocytes, and are therefore more prone to sunburn if exposed to too much sunlight, increasing the risk of skin cancer.

TODAY’S WORDS 今日單字

1. contagious adj.

傳染性的 (chuan2 ran3 xing4 de5)

例: Vaccinations significantly reduce the transmission of contagious diseases.

(疫苗對減少傳染性疾病的散播相當有效。)

2. discriminate v.

歧視 (qi2 shi4)

例: People discriminated against for having vitiligo may experience depression or other mood disorders.

(被歧視患有白癜風的人,可能會有遭受憂鬱症或其他情感障礙。)

3. autoimmune adj.

自體免疫的 (zi4 ti3 mian3 yi4 de5)

例: Around 75 percent of Americans with autoimmune diseases are women.

(在美國患有自體免疫疾病的人,女性佔百分之七十五左右。)


Chan stresses that vitiligo is a curable condition. By undergoing skin graft surgery, the depigmented areas can be replaced with transplanted normal skin, or melanocytes can be injected into the skin, but the time for recovery is longer. Currently, various forms of phototherapy combined with applying medicinal ointments locally show good results. When it comes to diet, large quantities of vitamin C should be avoided, while foods with vitamin B complex should be increased and the skin should be protected from direct sunlight.

(Liberty Times, Translated by Kyle Jeffcoat)

一名中年男子年輕時手部長出白色斑塊,由於沒有明顯不舒服的症狀,他並未就醫,直到自行創業後,每次想和客戶握手,感覺對方都被嚇到。

台北書田診所副院長兼醫學美容中心主任曾興隆表示,白癜風於國內發生率約百分之一,推估數十萬人受白癜風困擾,最常發生在十到三十歲,約五成病患二十歲前發病。雖然白癜風不會傳染,也沒有立即生命危險,但常發生於明顯部位,患者可能因外觀遭受歧視。

曾興隆解釋,白癜風是黑色細胞異常造成膚色異常,真正原因仍不明確,有些臨床研究顯示,可能和遺傳、自體免疫疾病、氧化應激、甲狀腺功能異常、造血功能不足、黑色素缺乏有關;好發部位包括頭、臉、四肢、腋窩及下背部,大小及數目會因人而異,嚴重者甚至可能遍佈全身,範圍也可能逐漸擴大或出現在新的區域。

曾興隆提醒,罹患白斑的部位缺乏黑色素保護,較易因陽光過度曝曬導致曬傷,甚至提高罹患皮膚癌的機率。

曾興隆強調,白癜風是可治癒疾病,可以手術將白斑部位的表皮破壞,移植正常皮膚,或在白斑部位植入黑色素細胞,恢復時間較長;目前採照光治療加局部藥物塗抹,療效不錯,飲食方面應避免短時間大量食用富含維生素C的蔬果,多吃維他命B群類食物,注意防曬。

(自由時報記者林相美)

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