With deaths caused by mouth cancer among Taiwanese men moving from ninth place in 2002 to fifth place last year in the nation's cause-of-death charts, betel-nut chewing -- which has long been linked with mouth cancer -- has become a matter of concern in Taiwan.
Officials from the Taipei City Government's Department of Health yesterday discussed the dangers of betel-nut chewing, and announced an initiative to set up medical stands in Taipei to check for symptoms of mouth cancer free of charge, in view of the anti-betel-nut campaign month this month.
"If you chew beetle nut, smoke or drink, you must take time out to check the condition of your mouth," said Lee Chieh-fang (李玠芳), deputy director of the health promotion department in the Department of Health.
Lee said the probability of beetle nut chewers and smokers getting mouth cancer compared to the rest of the population are 28 and 18 times higher, respectively.
Those who do both, are 89 times more likely to get mouth cancer whilst those who smoke, drink and chew betel nut are 123 times more likely to get mouth cancer.
"In Taiwan, 90 percent of those who have mouth cancer have at some point in their lives been chewing betel nut," Lee said.
He said, however, that with early diagnosis and treatment, 80 percent of those with mouth cancer can survive for five years after onset of the disease.
"The importance of early diagnosis and early treatment cannot be stressed enough," Lee said.
A mouth-cancer patient surnamed Liang, who offered to share his experiences, said, "I had been chewing betel nut for over 35 years by the time I was diagnosed with mouth cancer. Although I had had a tumor in my mouth for some time, it didn't bother me since it didn't hurt. But when I finally went for a check-up and the doctor told me it was a malignant tumor, I couldn't stop myself crying."
Liang said that in the hospital ward where he was treated, eight out of 10 patients with mouth cancer used to chew betel nut. Liang himself used to be a drinker, too, and now still smokes.
Advising people to quit beetle-nut chewing, Liang said, "Although you may not worry about it now, once you get diagnosed with mouth cancer, it will be too late to stop the damage."
With betel-nut chewing common among the nation's taxi drivers, medical stands have been set up at two taxi stops along Chung-shan N Road, Section 3 (under the Chienguo N Road viaduct), to check drivers' mucous membranes for cancer symptoms.
Check-ups will be performed from 11am to 3pm, Mondays to Fridays, from Dec. 1 to Dec. 16.
NBA player Enes Kanter Freedom has taken to social media to urge Jeremy Lin (林書豪) to “stand with Taiwan” and stop taking “dirty Chinese Communist Party money.” “Haven’t you had enough of that Dirty Chinese Communist Party money feeding you to stay silent?” Freedom wrote on Facebook and Twitter on Sunday. The 29-year-old Boston Celtics center, who took a new surname when he became a US citizen on Monday last week, urged Lin: “Stand with Taiwan! Stop bowing to money & the Dictatorship.” Lin, a US citizen of Taiwanese descent who last year obtained a Taiwanese passport, has not responded to Freedom. Lin is
PAST CATCHING UP: Raphael Lin was last year convicted of intimidating his girlfriend at the time, and in 2015 allegedly confined his parents and assaulted his mother Doctoral student and media commentator Raphael Lin (林秉樞) is in detention and has had his communication rights limited after he was arrested on Wednesday for allegedly subjecting Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Kao Chia-yu (高嘉瑜) to two days of violence in a hotel room, the New Taipei District Court said yesterday. The New Taipei City Prosecutors’ Office had filed a request to detain Lin — who was Kao’s boyfriend at the time of the incident — with the court approving the request early yesterday. The prosecutors’ office said that it is likely to charge Lin with seven offenses: assault causing bodily harm, violating
A COVID-19 vaccine trial carried out in Taiwan has found that a combination of the AstraZeneca and the locally developed Medigen vaccines is more effective than two doses of AstraZeneca, the research team said on Saturday. The trial, which was initiated by Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, examined 100 people aged 22 to 62 divided into two groups: One group was vaccinated with two AstraZeneca doses, while the other received a first dose of AstraZeneca and a second dose of Medigen, team leader Chen Chih-jung (陳志榮) said. The geometric mean titers (GMTs) of neutralizing antibodies in the mix-and-match group after 10 days were
Toads are a symbol of prosperity and good fortune in Taiwan, but the unexpected discovery of an invasive species has officials and environmentalists scrambling to contain their spread. With flashlights in hand and shielded by protective gloves, dozens of volunteers from the Taiwan Amphibian Conservation Society worked through the night searching rice fields and vegetable plots for their quarry — the cane toad. There should be no reason for these large and highly toxic amphibians to exist in Caotun (草屯), a township in the foothills of the central mountain range. Cane toads are indigenous to South and Central America, and while they have