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  1. #1
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    Isaan villagers warned of dangers of raw fish

    Isaan villagers warned of dangers of raw fish
    Wannapa Phetdee
    July 24, 2009

    Since the Northeast has the largest number of bileduct cancer (cholangiocarcinoma) patients in the world, the National Cancer Institute Foundation, in a joint project with Bayer Thai, trained volunteers to teach their fellow villagers ways of protecting themselves.

    Village health volunteers learn how to explain the dangers of liver flukes found in the scales of uncooked freshwater fish to people in the Northeast. It is believed that liver fluke causes bileduct cancer.

    The institute revealed that, on an average, some 80 men and 40 women out of 100,000 people surveyed in the Northeast were affected by the cancer, compared to just one out of 100,000 in the West.

    "The World Health Organisation said the main cause of this cancer was the opisthorchis viverrini parasite. Only ten per cent of bileduct cancer patients have undergone surgery, and less than 5 per cent of these were successful, in that all the cancerous cells could be removed. Most of the deaths were of patients aged between 40 and 60 years old," said Dr Thiravud Kuhaprema, the institute's director and chairman of the National Cancer Institute Foundation.

    "Opisthorchis viverrini [liver fluke] flourish in the scales of freshwater fish, and the cancer is prevalent in the Northeast because many popular dishes feature uncooked or halfcooked fish. Nitrosamines in fermented fish or sausages is also to be blamed," Thiravud added.

    He said few people had enough information about this type of cancer, and that the Public Health Ministry has not been successful in cutting down the number of patients in the Northeast even though it's been campaigning for years now.

    Thiravud said according to statistics on the top ten types of cancer cases in Nong Khai from 2004 to 2006, the highest number of patients seem to be suffering from liver or bileduct cancer. The findings showed an incidence rate of 54.8 per cent in males and 27.4 per cent females out of 100,000 people

    Under the "Train the Trainer" project, more than 100 volunteers from different districts of Nong Khai province were taught about the causes of bileduct and liver cancer, and trained to persuade locals to change their eating habits. The event was held between July 16 and 17 at the Royal Mekong Nong Khai Hotel.

    Apart from theory, the volunteers were given different activities they could use to engage locals, like singing a song made famous by the popular Northeast band Siang Esarn explaining the dangers of eating raw fish, and playing games to help people understand the dangers of bileduct cancer.

    "We want these volunteers to go from house to house to pass on knowledge about bileduct and liver cancer, and convince them to stop eating raw fish," said Dr Wanchai Sattayawuthipong, deputy director of the ministry's Department of Medical Service.

    Nawin Pajukko, 37, one of the volunteers, said he used to eat uncooked fish before but now that he knows liver flukes can cause bileduct cancer, he was going to change his eating habits.

    "If I continued eating raw fish, I'd have probably died. I'll apply the techniques I was taught to convince others to eat cooked fish and protect themselves from this kind of cancer. Though it will be difficult to change people's habits, I will continue explaining the dangers to them," Nawin said.

    A similar project was held earlier in Ubon Ratchathani and Udon Thani. The project will next target students in the three provinces next year, so they can teach their friends and parents about the dangers of liver fluke.

    nationmultimedia.com

  2. #2
    loob lor geezer
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    On my first visit to Thailand in 1979 , the first thing I read in the first Bangkok Post I bought was ..... ' Isaan villagers warned of dangers of eating raw fish ' .

    In a world full of change , here's one thing that will always be the same : Isaan folk like their raw fish.

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