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Friday, July 30, 2021

A deadly Thai dish that can give you cancer

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Aakash Molpariya
Aakash started in Nov 2018 as a writer at Revyuh.com. Since joining, as writer, he is mainly responsible for Software, Science, programming, system administration and the Technology ecosystem, but due to his versatility he is used for everything possible. He writes about topics ranging from AI to hardware to games, stands in front of and behind the camera, creates creative product images and much more. He is a trained IT systems engineer and has studied computer science. By the way, he is enthusiastic about his own small projects in game development, hardware-handicraft, digital art, gaming and music. Email: aakash (at) revyuh (dot) com

Scientists claim that the connection between the Thai dish koi plaa and the development of cancer has been studied for about 30 years.

Dr Banchob Sripa from the Tropical Disease Research Laboratory in Khon Kaen University in Thailand claims that eating “koi plaa” made from raw fish can trigger liver cancer.

The dish is a salad of small river or lake fish with finely chopped herbs. The salad is seasoned with lime juice followed by the addition of live red ants. Koi plaa is served raw.

According to the research results, the parasitic flatworm “liver fluke” contained in raw fish can cause not only inflammatory processes, but also provoke the appearance of oncological diseases.

“We found that the liver fluke can make a chemical that stimulates a host immune response – inflammation – and after many years, this becomes chronic inflammation, which then becomes cancer.”

In some communities in northeastern Thailand, where koi plaa salad is especially popular, the researchers said up to 80 percent of the population is infected with the liver parasite.

At the university hospital they receive around 2,000 patients a year with a specific form of liver cancer called cholangiocarcinoma.

Only around 200 of those can be treated, usually by surgery, cutting out the tumour from the liver.

The others are given palliative care, easing their discomfort, usually by draining bile ducts, until they die.

The only effective remedy is prevention.

“I think 60 percent do understand the causes of the liver cancer” said Dr Banchob, “they are aware of the liver fluke.”

“But 10 percent are still eating raw fish. I believe that 10 percent probably cannot change. So we should change the environment, make the fish cleaner, to get fewer infections.”

Experts recommend not paying attention to the popularity of the dish and eating only thermally processed fish.

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