More than 40 people who have battled cancer and their families yesterday concluded an around-the-island cycling trip aimed at raising cancer awareness and promoting smoking-cessation efforts.
The bikers began their 10-day, 1,100km-long tour on Oct. 28 at Taiwan Adventist Hospital in Taipei’s Songshan District (松山), which was the finishing point as well.
Lin Ching-li (林清麗), director of the anti-smoking John Tung Foundation, which organized the event, said most of the participants have cancer or were long-term smokers, and they began training with the Association of Cancer Patient Cycle Club in Taiwan in September.
Hsieh Yung-chao (謝永照), who is 46, had smoked for 22 years, continuing to smoke even after he was diagnosed with thyroid cancer at the age of 36.
“I was so addicted to smoking that the first thing I asked for after I woke up from anesthesia following an operation for my cancer was a cigarette. Not even the touching speech my son gave during his kindergarten graduation ceremony, in which he wished for a ‘healthy dad,’ was enough to make me try to quit,” Hsieh said.
Hsieh said he did not awaken to the harmful effects smoking had on his health until he went on a cycling trip with friends, during which he experienced severe shortness of breath was left behind.
Taipei Department of Health official Hsu Fang-yuan (許芳源) said WHO statistics show that nearly 30 percent of cancer cases are associated with smoking.
“Research conducted by the anti-smoking group Action on Smoking and Health also showed that compared with their non-smoking counterparts, men who smoke are 22 times more likely to develop lung cancer, 27 times more prone to oral cancer and face 12 times more risk of throat cancer,” Hsu said.
Gynecologist Chou Hui-cheng (周輝政), the hospital’s head strategy officer, said research has suggested that women could face a 30 percent higher risk of developing breast cancer if they have smoked 100 cigarettes in their lives.
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