Sat, Aug 08, 2015 - Page 3 News List

Doctors link three family members’ cancer to drinking

By Stacy Hsu  /  Staff reporter

Three of the four members of a Taichung family have been diagnosed with cancers believed to have been induced by excessive alcohol consumption.

Feng Yuan Hospital’s Department of Radiation Oncology director Chang Shih-tsung (張世宗) said he treated an 80-year-old woman, surnamed Lin (林), who had difficulties swallowing and chest pain.

“An endoscopy and biopsy of Lin’s upper respiratory tract found a 5cm tumor blocking nearly 80 percent of her esophagus. She was diagnosed with esophageal cancer,” Chang said.

Lin’s eldest son died from head and neck cancers, while her husband also died of esophageal cancer a decade ago.

Lin said that her family were heavy drinkers and that her deceased husband and son were addicted to alcohol, cigarettes and betel nuts.

Lin’s age made her unfit for surgery, so she received concurrent chemo-radiotherapy, Chang said, and she has since regained functional swallowing.

“Alcohol, tobacco and betel nuts are the three primary risk factors for esophageal, as well as head and neck cancers, whose sufferers often have a poor prognosis and commonly endure facial disfigurement,” Chang said.

“Given that three out of the four members in Lin’s family were diagnosed with cancer, drinking may have played a significant role in their diseases,” he said.

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