Thailand and the Rising Cases of Liver Cancer

Why Cancer Cases Is Rising in Thailand

 Cancer is but just one of the plagues that causes mortality among us human and whose existence has been around since probably the start of the first civilization, or even earlier. The same is very much true among the people of Thailand whose tenth killer disease is liver or bile duct cancer which affects both male and female alike. In fact, it is the most prevalent disease that kills most males in that particular region (specifically the north-eastern part of Thailand) of the world, even topping other cancer diseases such as lung cancer (for both male and female) and breast cancer (mostly for female) which are also among the top ten causes of mortality among the Thais. This is partly according to a statistics as gathered by the World Health Organization in 2011.

 What Makes Bile Duct Cancer or Liver Cancer Common in Thailand?

Thais are known for adding spices to their dishes which give their foods flavor, sometimes even to raw foods. While spices are often regarded as healthful  because of their natural substances, the same cannot be always true among raw foods, especially fermented fish which aficionados affectionately refer to as something that “tastes like heaven, but smells like hell.” As tasty as the food may seem, there are instances where the food itself contains something that no food lover would have bargained for – parasites.

However, these are unintentional parasites and often just occur partly because of the fermentation process or at least, the process’ inability to kill off these parasites within the allotted time which are eventually eaten by unsuspecting people.

Parasites in Sushi and Raw Fish

One popular dish in Thailand that fits the description is the pla som (sour fish) whose preparation involves the mixture of spices and raw fish which are then left to tropical heat for three days. When eaten, the parasites found in the food accumulate in the liver which then results to a deadly disease, that is, the bile duct cancer but whose chances of occurring affects only 1% to 5% of those who have the parasites in their liver yet is nonetheless potentially lethal.

Because of the nature on how the infestation occurs, the parasite is referred to as the liver fluke and the condition, the liver fluke disease. Alas, because of the love of this kind of food, bile duct cancer is a common killing disease in some parts of Thailand that kills over 70 people a day according to a university statistics in the same region.

Pathogen Infections

Other common causes of liver or bile duct cancer are also as a result of pathogen infections. These pathogens don’t only affect people of Thailand but globally as well: aflatoxin B1 (mold), hepatitis B, and hepatitis C viruses. These  are known to promote the development of either liver or bile duct cancer which significantly affects  Thai people. However, one cannot also disregard the fact that apart from the pathogens mentioned, the practice of over-consuming alcohol  has its role also in promoting the disease.

What to Do Next?

Food is sold everywhere in Thailand and the risk of getting the aforementioned diseases-causing bacteria is quite high so you better be careful than sorry in the later time. There are a lot of places which are safe to eat. Unless you have strong bacteria soldiers in your immune system then there is no problem at all wherever you dine.

If you are new in Thailand but have some friends who are quite familiar with the dining places around then ask them to help you find safe restaurants or you may use restaurant reviews available online. Always take care of yourself. God bless your food.