Cancers, the obsession at an iron mine

 VietNamNet Bridge - Tens of thousands of people in the communes that are directly affected by the Thach Khe Iron Mine, in Thach Ha district, Ha Tinh province, are extremely worried when "deaths" in the form of cancers, has called the names of many people.

In some villages located closely to the mine, in Thach Hai commune, the number of cancer patients has increased sharply in recent times, to become a real obsession.

Thousands of people living around the mine are worried when the number
 of deaths from cancer is increasing.

Cancer disseminates death

Visiting Thach Hai, VietNamNet’s correspondents recorded the earnest pleas of many coastal people when they talked about cancer, which claims the lives of many people each day. They did not understand what was going on with their lives.

In Thuong Hai village, the pain was still present in the house of Mr. Nguyen Van Duc, whose father - Mr. Nguyen Son Mai, 75 died of throat cancer a few days ago.

Duc, with a sad face, told VietNamNet that his father himself detected parotid glands early this year. He was taken to the Ha Tinh Hospital, then K Hospital in Hanoi. Doctors said he had a parotid tumor, which could not be cured. The man was brought back home to wait for his death.

Sadly, three years ago, Duc’s mother, Ms. Nguyen Thi Lan also died of liver cancer.

In Lien Hai village, Ms. Tran Thi Phuong was still sad because her father, Mr. Tran Dinh Thu, 65 years old, died of cancer two weeks ago.

According to Phuong, her father was very healthy. Before the cancer was detected, he had never gone to the hospital. Yet, six months ago, he had a sore throat. Doctors said it was esophagus cancer. The family took him to the K hospital in Hanoi but doctors could not save him.

In Thuong Hai village, the pain was still present in the house of Mr. Nguyen Van Duc,
whose father - Nguyen Son Mai, 75, died of throat cancer a few days ago.

Sitting beside his wife, Duong Dinh Toan said that Lien Hai village, many people died of cancer. He listed a batch of cases died of cancer here.

Also in Lien Hai, Ms. Tran Thi Dinh, 59, whose husband, Duong Van Truong, died of cancer five years ago, recalled: her husband died when he was less than 60 years old and was still very healthy. But because cancer was metastasis so doctors could not cure.

According to Ms. Dinh, she knew nearly 40 people who died of this incurable disease in Lien Hai village.

Writhing with illness

In Lien Hai, Mr. Tran Cong Vien, 64, is daily fighting with throat cancer by expensive medication boxes.

According to Vien, he discovered the disease five years ago. Thanks to early detection, he has been saved. Also since then, he lived in the hospital more than at his home and always has to use expensive drugs.

The youngest cancer patient in Thach Hai is Tran An Giang, 3, who suffers
from retina cancer from April 2010. Photo: Giang and her grandmother.

The drug he uses is priced VND7 million ($350)/ box, which is enough for 20 days. Fortunately, his son is working abroad and he sent money home to purchase medicines for the father.

The youngest cancer patient in Thach Hai is Tran An Giang, 3, who suffers from retina cancer from April 2010. The baby’s mother, Ms. Tham, said the family was preparing to take the baby to the K hospital in Hanoi for chemical treatment.

Giang was increasingly pale. She did not want to eat or drink anything. The family did not dare to hope when they knew her illness, but they had to try their best to extend the life of their child.

Previously, Tham’s father-in-law, Mr. Tran Dinh Lai got gastric cancer. He died in 2008.

"Our villagers are very confused; no one wants to do anything. Seeing so many people die and many others are dying with cancer, we are afraid that we may follow them," said Ms. Truong Thi Lan, 55-year-old, Giang’s grandmother.

Cancer is not just rife in Thach Hai, but also in some villages in Thach Dinh and Thach Khe communes. There the numbers of deaths with cancer in recent years also increased sharply.

In hamlet 3, Thach Khe commune, Hoang Thi Trang, 13, was detected with brain cancer from August 2010. She was treated for two years in Hanoi. She had just returned home for almost 2 months when we visited her. Her memory has severely affected. She looked silly and weak.

According to the Thach Khe commune health station, from 2008 to now, the commune had 15 people who died of cancer and 5 cases of cancer at present.

In Thach Dinh commune, according to the commune health station, since 2008 there have been 17 deaths from cancer, compared to only five cases from 2004 to 2008.

Tran Van - Duy Tuan