A 68-year-old man has been left disfigured after his bizarre habit of consuming over a litre of rice-spirit alcohol every day for 55 years caused his body to explode with tumours. The man, identified only as Tan, comes from Xiangyang City, in China, and says he began drinking a litre of spirit every day from the age of 13. The alcohol is made from fermented rice and is of a very high proof, despite this Tan still drank the spirit like it was “just water”.
Doctors have now diagnosed Tan with Madelung’s disease, also known as symmetric lipomatosis, which is a condition where the body grows large fatty tumours just under the skin. These tumours are responsible for Tan’s… unusual appearance. In most cases Madelung’s disease is caused by heavy drinking, and is usually found in middle aged men who are alcoholics.
“There are only 400-something cases of this disease worldwide some 200 of them have happened in China,” said Tan’s doctor.
Tan told reporters that he first noticed the lumps starting to grow in 1997 and he visited them not long after but he was told that he should not worry unless it started affecting his breathing. It appears Tan was relatively unfazed by his new lumpy friends until the lumps began growing more rapidly, and the situation became unbearable and he became concerned that they might cause him to suffocate. Doctors are now considering liposuction as a treatment for Tan’s condition, but they have also emphasised that unless Tan stops drinking, the fatty tumours will just continue to regrow.
Thankfully Madelung’s disease is very rarely malignant, and Tan shouldn’t have to worry too much about the risk of the tumours becoming cancerous and threatening his life. Despite that doctors have emphasised that he needs to stop drinking because the risk of cancer will increase significantly if he keeps on drinking the rice-spirit like it’s just a normal beverage.