How a single Thai meal can give you liver cancer

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How a single Thai meal can give you liver cancer

Post by buksida » Fri Jun 30, 2017 3:56 pm

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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 meal made by mincing raw fish with herbs, spices, and lemon juice, and is particularly popular in one of Thailand’s poorest regions, Isaan. Eaten by millions of people, the dish is also known to have a deadly side effect: It can cause those who eat it to develop fatal liver cancer.

It is not actually the fish that are the causative agent, but rather 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 than 50 percent of cancers diagnosed in men in this region, compared to just 10 percent globally.

It was after both of Narong Khuntikeo's parents died from the bile duct cancer known officially as cholangiocarcinoma that he went on to train as a liver surgeon. Now he is 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 used to make the dish are caught in Mekong, where the liver fluke is widespread. Since the fish is eaten raw, it means that over time locals build up a high parasite load that can then lead to the development 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 don’t know of the hazard of eating 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 danger, is a delicacy in the region and people have been eating it for decades. The locals, particularly the older folk, are resistant to change and feel that cooking the fish, which is the best way to kill the parasite, ruins the taste.

Source: http://www.iflscience.com/health-and-me ... s-parents/
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Re: How a single Thai meal can give you liver cancer

Post by Takiap » Fri Jun 30, 2017 4:15 pm

I can quite believe just how difficult it must be to try and convince people not to eat this dish. After all, old Som Chai who never attended a proper school, and who has only farmed rice all his life, knows considerably more about anything and everything than any other person on the planet.

At least they are hearing it from fellow Thais, or else they would REALLY ignore the advice.


Strangely enough, I have recently read a warning about similar parasites infecting people, but in that article, sushi was to blame.

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Re: How a single Thai meal can give you liver cancer

Post by migrant » Fri Jun 30, 2017 5:07 pm

Takiap wrote:
Fri Jun 30, 2017 4:15 pm

Strangely enough, I have recently read a warning about similar parasites infecting people, but in that article, sushi was to blame.

:cheers:
Yes sushi can cause the same issue, been different campaigns in the US about it. I love sushi, but am very careful where I eat it
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Re: How a single Thai meal can give you liver cancer

Post by RCer » Fri Jun 30, 2017 5:21 pm

US Surgeon General recently announced living causes death and may be hazardous to your health.

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Re: How a single Thai meal can give you liver cancer

Post by Spitfire » Fri Jun 30, 2017 6:03 pm

A lot of Thai food can be dangerous for your health, another example is that pla-ra fermented fish stuff that they use in all sorts.

An it's not just cancer here that is off the charts, high blood pressure & cholesterol etc. as well. Go to any heart hospital and it is teaming with people everyday for these too. A lot is down to food choice and ingredients used, like the street food in most places.

Tastes great, is cheap, easily available, part of Thai culture but is generally imo a large health red flag tbh. An aweful lot (not all though) is cooked with stuff that is full of flavourings/preservatives/colouring like the Thai-style frank n furter sausages available everywhere which only contain like 15% meat at best, or the mystery meat ball, green goo sandwiches, not to mention the multi-coloured shapes of, well, consumable "stuff" etc. all cooked in the cheapest oil they can find or the reconstituted oil that has been cleaned for a second life.... :run:

I'm pretty picky about what street food I partake in. Thai food cooked with decent quality ingredients is obviously one of the best in the world...but I generally don't think "best ingredients" filters down to the street food for obvious reasons.
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Re: How a single Thai meal can give you liver cancer

Post by PET » Fri Jun 30, 2017 6:18 pm

Interesting because I just mentioned to my wife about the dangers of KOI PLA and she said her family and her village (5klms from Korat) never eat it.
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Re: How a single Thai meal can give you liver cancer

Post by Name Taken » Fri Jun 30, 2017 6:43 pm

I believe it! Thai food is so BAD it routinely gives me diarrhea. :shock:

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Re: How a single Thai meal can give you liver cancer

Post by laphanphon » Fri Jun 30, 2017 6:48 pm

Yes, village fish sauce, if not cooked, and rarely is, or used to be, carries the same hazard, liver flukes.

Sakon Nakhon has their own version, snails from the fresh water lake, and warnings signs, education about and teaching policy in the area, but yet, where's the highest incidents of......SN. Along with Udon Thani topping the charts for liver 'fluke' cancer also.

Most are learning, but still eat the raw versions of fish / fish sauce. Simply take Praziquantel once a year, just in case...... :roll:
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Re: How a single Thai meal can give you liver cancer

Post by Takiap » Sat Jul 01, 2017 7:46 am

Well, I can't imagine myself getting liver flukes, at least not from raw or undercooked fish, because there is absolutely no way I would ever eat it in the first place, and that includes sushi.
I just do enjoy the smell and/or taste. I've never really been a fan of fish/seafood, apart from a few exceptions.

I love fish and chips, or a baked fish fillet; I love crayfish, but can't afford the bloody stuff; I like fresh sea prawns, but that's where it ends for me. Actually, I really like calamari, but ironically, I hate squid in all other forms. Oh, and I like canned sardines and etc. So, certainly no Koi Pla or Pla Ra for me. :D


:cheers:
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Re: How a single Thai meal can give you liver cancer

Post by Name Taken » Sat Jul 01, 2017 11:48 am

RCer wrote:
Fri Jun 30, 2017 5:21 pm
US Surgeon General recently announced living causes death and may be hazardous to your health.
:roll:

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Re: How a single Thai meal can give you liver cancer

Post by Name Taken » Sat Jul 01, 2017 11:59 am

Spitfire wrote:
Fri Jun 30, 2017 6:03 pm
A lot of Thai food can be dangerous for your health, another example is that pla-ra fermented fish stuff that they use in all sorts.

An it's not just cancer here that is off the charts, high blood pressure & cholesterol etc. as well. Go to any heart hospital and it is teaming with people everyday for these too. A lot is down to food choice and ingredients used, like the street food in most places.

Tastes great, is cheap, easily available, part of Thai culture but is generally imo a large health red flag tbh. An aweful lot (not all though) is cooked with stuff that is full of flavourings/preservatives/colouring like the Thai-style frank n furter sausages available everywhere which only contain like 15% meat at best, or the mystery meat ball, green goo sandwiches, not to mention the multi-coloured shapes of, well, consumable "stuff" etc. all cooked in the cheapest oil they can find or the reconstituted oil that has been cleaned for a second life.... :run:

I'm pretty picky about what street food I partake in. Thai food cooked with decent quality ingredients is obviously one of the best in the world...but I generally don't think "best ingredients" filters down to the street food for obvious reasons.
:agree:
I think Thai food has way too much oil in it and that's probably what causes the high cholesterol.
And most of the Thai restaurants probably just pay a bribe to get those little 'Healthy Good Food' signs that you see on display inside Thai restaurants sometimes.
Nothing is going to change anytime soon, so just be very careful what you eat, when you're on the road driving, interacting with Thai's etc. etc. etc. :banghead: :banghead:

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