According to Health Promotion Administration figures, about 2,300 people die of oral cancer in Taiwan every year, and last year it was ranked as fifth in the top 10 most fatal cancers. As many as 90 percent of patients habitually chew betel nut. Doctors say that the “red lip brigade” of betel nut chewers are 28 times more likely to get oral cancer than non-chewers, and if they combine this with drinking alcohol and smoking, the cancer risk increases to 123 times, which should not be taken lightly.
Truck driver Yu You-peng first started chewing betel nut when he was 13 years old, and since then needs it to keep him awake when driving long distance, chewing around 200 nuts every day. As a result, he was diagnosed as having third-stage oral cancer, and has had many operations since then. He now has scars all over his face, and regrets chewing the betel nuts.
Eda Hospital resident family physician Huang Chi-hsien says that chewing betel nut will stimulate the oral membrane and cause a mutation in the cells, leading to oral cancer. If you chew 10 betel nuts every day, and continue to do so for over 10 years, even if you later quit, the risk of developing oral cancer will remain for over 10 years. Huang recommends having an oral inspection for cancer once every two years, so that it can be found and treated in good time.
(Liberty Times, translated by Paul Cooper)
Photo courtesy of the Health Promotion Administration
1. take lightly v.
掉以輕心 (diao4 yi3 qing1 xin1)
例: I don’t know why you’re taking this so lightly. It is a serious matter.
2. diagnose v.
診斷 (zhen3 duan4)
例: He was diagnosed with leukemia three months ago.(他三個月前被診斷出白血病。)
3. mutation n.
病變 (bing4 bian4)
例: Cancer is essentially a mutation of cells.
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