Last update 2/28/2012 8:30:00 AM (GMT+7)

Raw fish in 7 species in Cambodia can cause human liver cancer: study

Cambodia's health officials said Sunday that a study found that at least seven species of freshwater fishes in the country can cause human liver cancer when they have not been cooked well before eating.

Dr. Char Meng Chuor, director of the National Center for Parasitology, Entomology and Malaria Control, said that the recent study was conducted by two Japanese scientists from Dokkyo University in cooperation with the center.

The seven species of the freshwater fishes are scientifically named Cyclocheilichthys apogon, a type of beardless barb; Cyclochelichthys enoplos, a ray-finned fish in the genus Cyclocheilichthys; Cyclocheilichthys repasson, a species of ray- finned fish in the genus Cyclocheilichthys; Puntius brevis, a species of ray-finned fish in the genus Puntius; Hampala dispar, a type of spotted Hampala barb, Barbonymus altus, a red-tail tinfoil barb; and Cirrhinus lobatus in a species of ray-finned fish. "Human liver fluke, a freshwater parasite endemic, is detected in these fishes and those parasitic flatworms can trigger human liver cancer by creating harmful cell mutations, causing tumor growth and stopping normal cell death," he said. "When a person eats the fish raw, or some Cambodians eat a delicacy of fermented fish, the parasitic flatworms will take up residence inside the liver,"he said. "However, we can prevent the disease easily by eating only well-cooked fish."

Muth Sinuon, head of the National Program for Helminthiasis ( macro parasitic disease of humans and animals) at National Center for Parasitology, Entomology and Malaria Control said that the liver cancer that is caused by eating those raw fish has not only happened in Cambodia, but also in Laos, Vietnam, the Philippines, Indonesia, especially Thailand, because Thai people are keen to eat uncooked fish.