Proper diet lowers risk, but vegans get colon cancer: doctor
A 60-year-old woman was diagnosed with late-stage colon cancer though she has been on vegan diet for over 20 years, a physician told media recently.
Lin underwent surgery to have the tumors in her colon removed, but cancer cells have spread to her liver. She received targeted therapy that diminished the tumors in her liver. She was scheduled to have the tumors removed only after they shrank in order to boost the effectiveness of the surgery, local media reported. The targeted therapy was covered by the National Health Insurance.
After her six months of insured treatment failed to diminish the tumors greatly, Lin paid out of her own pocket for another round of targeted therapy. Ultimately the tumors shrank in size and were removed.
Colon cancer has been the most diagnosed type of cancer in Taiwan since 2007, followed by liver cancer, lung cancer, breast cancer and oral cancer in turn, statistics indicate.
Statistics show that 45 out of 100,000 Taiwanese suffer from colon cancer or rectal cancer. In other words, every 35.1 minutes one more patient is diagnosed with colon cancer in Taiwan.
It is widely believed that those who keep an unhealthy diet are at bigger risk of getting cancer and vegetarians have a slimmer chance, however it’s important to remember that “everyone is at risk,” said Chen Hong-hua ( ), a doctor in charge of the Colon and Rectal Surgery Center of Kaohsiung’s Chang Gung Memorial Hospital.
”Dietary habits, heredity and genes may add to the risk, but sometimes it simply comes from gene mutation. ‘Bad luck’ happens,” Chen said.
Chen said that cancer diagnosed in the late stages is not always terminal. The patient’s life can be prolonged by five years if the spreading cancer cells can be successfully removed, before or after they are diminished by targeted therapy, Chen said.
The function of anti-angiogenesis targeted therapy ( ) is to weaken cancer cells by preventing blood vessels from growing on a tumor. The targeted therapy focuses cancer cells, while traditional chemotherapy weakens all of a patient’s cells.