Over the past two decades, there has been an increase in the prevalence of esophageal cancer in Taiwan and the number of attributable deaths has also risen significantly. Doctors are ascribing the spike in cases and deaths to males smoking tobacco, drinking alcohol and chewing betel nuts. On Oct. 22, National Taiwan University Hospital’s (NTUH) Department of Thoracic Surgery established the Esophageal Cancer Association. They are urging people who might be at risk to receive checkups periodically.
Lee Chang-ming, head of NTUH’s Department of Thoracic Surgery, says that esophageal cancer typically occurs among males in their 50s and 60s. Esophageal cancer was sixth on a list of the top 10 most common cancer-related causes of death in Taiwan last year for males. The average age of people dying from the cancer has gradually fallen, decreasing from 64 in 2001 to 58 last year. The age of people dying from esophageal cancer can be as low as 25 to 29 years old. The youngest person that Lee ever treated for esophageal cancer was 31 years old, he says.
People are two to three times more likely to get esophageal cancer if they chew 10 betel nuts every day for 10 years, Lee says. The same goes for people who smoke a pack of cigarettes every day for 10 years. However, if that sort of risky behavior combines smoking cigarettes, drinking alcohol and chewing betel nuts, the chances of getting the cancer increase exponentially, meaning a person is 20 to 60 times more likely to get it. If you enjoy eating hot soup and pickled foods, which can be high in nitrosamines, a carcinogen, or if your esophagus has been damaged and you have a family history of esophageal cancer, you should get tested regularly.
Photo: Yeh Yung-chien, Liberty Times
Lee says that because it is difficult to detect the cancer at an early stage, it makes it necessary to use an upper gastrointestinal endoscopy for a diagnosis. Once symptoms, including difficulty breathing, pain and a hoarse, cracked voice appear, it means that the cancer has probably already progressed to the point where it would require surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
(Liberty Times, Translated by Kyle Jeffcoat)
Photo: Chung Li-hua, Liberty Times
Russia-based face-changing application “FaceApp” took social media by storm last summer, as people used its filter to find out how they’d look like when they get old. Now, the app is back again with a gender-swapping function that transforms photos of faces into a different gender, and the filter has gone viral. FaceApp may be a fun tool, but such facial recognition apps raise security concerns, and they could pose a threat to your privacy. Late last year, the FBI even issued a warning about the app, which enjoys access to millions of photos, calling FaceApp and some other apps developed
In the past two weeks, our social media feeds were flooded by the image of Anthony Fauci, the top US infectious disease expert, telling US senators at a hearing that the country was “going in the wrong direction.” The image had a vivid, layered power. Not only did it feel like a national death knell, but Fauci’s appearance — in an imperial-red face mask emblazoned with the insignia of baseball’s Washington Nationals — seemed to signal another culture war. Fauci was making a comment about how to maintain one’s masculinity while wearing a face mask. Fauci apparently isn’t the only
The 22nd Taipei Film Festival kicked off on June 25 and is closing tomorrow with the Taipei Film Awards, which will take place at Taipei Zhongshan Hall. Due to the COVID-19 crisis, the event is the world’s first large-scale physical film festival since the pandemic broke out early this year. Director Chang Jung-chi’s We Are Champions is the strongest contestant this year, leading the nominees with 14 nods, including Best Feature Film. Other nominees for this category include: Days, Nina Wu, Detention and Boluomi. Nominees for Best Leading Actor are Fandy Fan, Lee Kang-sheng, Tseng Jing-hua, Wu Nien-hsuan and Morning Mo;
Most people understand the importance of avoiding second-hand smoke, but doctors say that the risk of third-hand tobacco in one’s living environment is not only as dangerous, but that small children are more likely to come into contact with it and could develop a cough as a result. For this reason, parents should be aware of the dangers. According to Chiu Chen-fong, director of the thoracic medicine department of Feng Yuan Hospital in Taichung, third-hand tobacco occurs when a person smokes in a closed environment, and the tobacco smoke particles settle on surfaces in the room, including the smokers’