How A Single Meal Can Dedicate You Liver Cancer
A doctor in Thailand has started a new campaign to try and prevent people from eating a local dish that can kill them. Spurred on by the deaths of his parents, he is trying to educate people as to the dangers of eating the much-loved delicacy that contains raw fish.
The dish is something known as koi pla ,a cheap snack made by mincing raw fish with herbs, spices, and lemon juice, and is especially popular in one of Thailands poorest regions, Isaan. Eaten by millions of people, the dish is also known to have a deadly side effect: It can cause the individuals who eat it to develop fatal liver cancer.
It is not actually the fisheries sector that are the causative agent, but instead the liver flukes parasitic flatworms that often live inside them. These flukes are so prevalent and the dish so popular that the level of liver cancer in Isaan province is bizarrely high. In fact, it is thought that the disease accounts for more than5 0 percentage of cancers diagnosed in humen in this region, compared to just 10 percentage globally.
It was after both ofNarong Khuntikeo’sparents died from thebile ductcancer known officially as cholangiocarcinoma that hewent on to develop as a liver surgeon. Now heis on a mission to educate people as to the danger that koi pla poses. He has been organizing a group of doctors, scientists, and researchers to take ultrasound machines and urine tests around Isaan to test villagers for the disease.
The fish are applied to build the dishare caught in Mekong, where the liver fluke is widespread. Sincethe fish is eaten raw, it means that over period locals build up a high parasite load that can then lead to thedevelopment of liver cancer . In his mission to teach people about the threat of the fluke, Narong has encountered many people who have been eating the local dish since they were young, but who have never been tested.
Many dont know of the hazard of feeing koi pla, as when people die from it, they are often older and do so quietly at home. This is why Narong is trying to reach as many locals as possible.
It has not, however, been easy to persuade people to take the tests. The dish, despite its clandestine threat, is a delicacy in the regionandpeople have been eating it for decades. The locals, especially the older folk, are resistant to change and feel that cooking the fisheries sector, which is the best way to kill the parasite, ruins the taste.[ H/ T : The Guardian]