- 14 Mar 2002
Found at Terrie's Take:
Found at Terrie's Take:
We had to laugh when we first saw the headline in the Daily Yomiuri: "Study: Roaches spread cancer-causing bacteria." Sounded like a title for a B-grade movie... At least, that is, until we heard from a reader who told us a nasty story relating to this very same bacteria. The moral to the following tale is, when living in Asia, be alert to your body and get competent medical diagnosis when things don't seem to be right.
As the news article, which appeared in this week's Daily Yomiuri, says, a study led by the Kyoto University of Medicine has found that there may be a strong link between the high incidence of stomach cancer in Japanese and the fact that 50% of Japanese people are infected by a stomach-based bacteria called Helicobacter pylori. The bacteria, which can be spread through cockroach droppings, are believed to cause ulcers which can eventually lead to stomach cancer. If you eat at ramen shops and other places that don't clean their eating surfaces regularly, you may have been exposed.
The reader's story is as follows: "...I began having belly pains before I went on holiday back to my home country, and consulted with local (Japanese) doctors for almost a year following my return. They couldn't find anything wrong, but after reading an article about bacterial stomach infections, I asked at least two different doctors to run specific tests for such an infection. Each time, I was given every test you can imagine, except the one which would identify a bacterial infection. Maybe they thought I was suffering from work stress..?!!
Finally a few weeks ago I went to St Luke's International Hospital, the first thing they did -- on my request -- was to test for Helicobacter Pylori, and they found that I tested positive. I have just finished a one week dose of antibiotics, the pain is gone, and I've been told to wait another 30 days for the internal scarring to heal... Luckily I have had some medical training and knew what to ask for -- even though I had to persist and hunt for someone who knew what they were doing..."
Now, no doubt probably almost every reader has a story to tell about problems with Japanese hospitals and particularly with their lack of diagnostic experience. Just thought that we'd remind you to stay alert. Sometimes the stuff you read in the news really is relevant. Find out more about Helicobacter pylori at The helicobacter foundation Perth, Australia.