School of Medicine and Health Sciences Poster Presentations

Title

The Bhutanes Diet and Gastric Cancer

Poster Number

227

Document Type

Poster

Publication Date

3-2016

Abstract

Bhutan is a small, landlocked country to the north of India in the Himalayas. One of Bhutan's greatest healthcare challenges is the extremely high prevalence of Helicobacter pylori and gastric cancer. A study2 in 2013 reported the H. pylori prevalence in Bhutan to be 73.4%. Another study in 20081 reported the strain of H. pylori in Bhutan to have higher virulence in comparison to the H. pylori strains in surrounding southeastern Asian countries. Furthermore, a study3 in 2015 found the prevalence of gastric cancer to be twice as high as the United States (367 cases per 5 years per 800,000 people). Researchers have suggested this prevalence and virulence of H. pylori to be correlated with the high rate of gastric cancer in Bhutan. However, several physicians in Bhutan have voiced their concern over an additional factor that may be contributing to the high rate of gastric cancer: the Bhutanese diet. In a series of interviews conducted in July of 2015, these physicians stated their concern for several items in the Bhutanese diet that may predispose the population to gastric cancer. The physicians’ greatest concerns were: 1) Heavily salted fish (due to the necessary salting preservation required to transport fish to landlocked Bhutan), 2) Chili peppers, 3) Uncooked yak meat, 4) Pork, and 5) The high consumption rate of alcohol. A case-control study is currently being designed to study the correlation, if any, of diet and gastric cancer in Bhutan. A dietary survey will be conducted among a group of Bhutanese patients with gastric cancer. The same survey will be conducted among a control group without gastric cancer. Rapid H. pylori test kits will be used to test each participant in the study. A practicing oncosurgeon and gastroenterologist in Thimphu, Bhutan have agreed to work as co-investigators on this study.

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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Open Access

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Presented at: GW Research Days 2016

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The Bhutanes Diet and Gastric Cancer

Bhutan is a small, landlocked country to the north of India in the Himalayas. One of Bhutan's greatest healthcare challenges is the extremely high prevalence of Helicobacter pylori and gastric cancer. A study2 in 2013 reported the H. pylori prevalence in Bhutan to be 73.4%. Another study in 20081 reported the strain of H. pylori in Bhutan to have higher virulence in comparison to the H. pylori strains in surrounding southeastern Asian countries. Furthermore, a study3 in 2015 found the prevalence of gastric cancer to be twice as high as the United States (367 cases per 5 years per 800,000 people). Researchers have suggested this prevalence and virulence of H. pylori to be correlated with the high rate of gastric cancer in Bhutan. However, several physicians in Bhutan have voiced their concern over an additional factor that may be contributing to the high rate of gastric cancer: the Bhutanese diet. In a series of interviews conducted in July of 2015, these physicians stated their concern for several items in the Bhutanese diet that may predispose the population to gastric cancer. The physicians’ greatest concerns were: 1) Heavily salted fish (due to the necessary salting preservation required to transport fish to landlocked Bhutan), 2) Chili peppers, 3) Uncooked yak meat, 4) Pork, and 5) The high consumption rate of alcohol. A case-control study is currently being designed to study the correlation, if any, of diet and gastric cancer in Bhutan. A dietary survey will be conducted among a group of Bhutanese patients with gastric cancer. The same survey will be conducted among a control group without gastric cancer. Rapid H. pylori test kits will be used to test each participant in the study. A practicing oncosurgeon and gastroenterologist in Thimphu, Bhutan have agreed to work as co-investigators on this study.