Topic: a rumor about parasite warning

Thank you for this wonderful website.

I work with Veterans and was recently shown a print out talking about Cholangiocarcinoma.  It was a warning for Viet Nam Vets and other veterans that have been to Southeast Asia.

It talks about the Southeast Asia Liver Fluke as carrying Opisthorchis viverrini (a parasite).  It also cays that Opisthorchis viverrini infection predisposes for Cholangiocarcinoma.

I don't want to put out information that isn't true, causing more problems for the men and women that I am working with.

If anyone knows about this please let me know.

I have had a veteran try to explain the pain he is going through and I want you all to know that I am hoping the best for you and hope that someday this cancer will be on the list that is easiest to eleminate.

thank you for listening.

Elizabeth Galos
Sr vet rep

Re: a rumor about parasite warning

Welcome, Igalos, to our wonderful family of the most courageous and caring people from all over the world. I want to thank you for bringing your patient to our attention and invite you to give him our web site, we are really quite unique.
I don't know the 'scientific' terms but we do suspect a parasite in Asia called Liver Flukes as you stated. We have Viet Vets and Korean Vets who have had Cholangiocarcinoma but we have no concrete answers. My husband served in Korea. I know you are going to get quite a few answers on this post so please hang with us and we will try to help.


Re: a rumor about parasite warning

Hello Elizabeth.   Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us.  As Lainy has mentioned we have numerous stories of Vets on this site some of which I hope will respond to your posting also.
Elizabeth, I am curious about the printout you are referring to.  How did it come about?  Who compiled it and who distributes it?
Thanks much,


4 (edited by Darla Thu, 13 Oct 2011 07:24:13)

Re: a rumor about parasite warning


Here is one of the many statements from Shelia Harrison:

Vietnam vets should know about potential health problem

I am writing about a potential health risk that servicemen may have been exposed to while serving in Vietnam. In addition to Agent Orange, there is a little-known danger from parasites.

My husband, who was otherwise healthy, passed away Jan. 20, 2006, from cholangiocarcinoma, cancer of the bile duct of the liver. At this time, it is very rare in the United States but very prevalent in Vietnam and surrounding countries. There are two known causes of this type of cancer. One cause is to contract hepatitis C, and the other is to have ingested a parasite from the water supply in Vietnam. My husband did not have hepatitis C, and therefore it was determined that his cancer derived from a parasite.

I have received official notification from the VA that his death was service-related, which is not something the VA determines without an overwhelming amount of evidence.

According to the research, this cancer does not manifest itself until later in life, when you are between 60 and 70 years old, but once the symptoms occur, usually jaundice, it is very difficult to treat or beat. My husband was 58 years old when he passed away, and many of his fellow veterans are approaching the age where this may be an issue.

You can access volumes of information on the Internet by entering "cholangiocarcinoma" in a search engine. If you spent time in Southeast Asia and are having gastrointestinal issues, with no apparent reason, please suggest to your physician to check for damage within the bile ducts. It may save your life.


This or something similar may be what you are referring too.  If you Google Shelia Harrison Vietnam Vets many things will come up.

You can also find some information here on the site.  Including the following: … 89&p=1

If you search this site you will also find more related information.

I have been working with the local VSO for over 3 years and have been denied my claim that my husbands death from Cholangiocarcinoma is service related.  I have not given up, but so far have not gotten anywhere with this.  Only a few claims have been approved.  Most have been denied up to this point.

Thank you for your concern and caring.  Anything that can be done to help get the government to recognize this cancer as service related is helpful.  Yes, hopefully some day it will be on the list.


"One Day At A Time"

All of my comments and suggestions are just my opinions and are not a substitute for professional medical advice.   You should always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care providers.

Re: a rumor about parasite warning

From what I've read, Thailand is the country with the highest incidence of CC, and I believe the thinking is it is, in fact, related to liver flukes.  I think most of Asia has high incidence of cc than elsewhere in the world.

Hospitals/Doctors Link,  Our Experiences:  See page 4 of thread for Dr. Tomoaki Kato info.
Major USA Cancer Centers:

Re: a rumor about parasite warning

Thank you for representing our Veterans.  It is not a rumor that cholangiocarcinoma can be caused by parasites.   There are 2 parasites in particular which are classified by the World Health Orgnaizations as carcinogens for this type of cancer.  This cancer is relatively rare in the United States, but very prevalent in Asia, Vietnam, etc. 
My husband was a Vietnam Veteran and passed away from this cancer.  I have a lot of information.  If any Vietnam Veteran or someone who is working with a Vet that needs the information, I will be happy to share all my research and a copy of the claim that I sent.  Since I was checking mainly about Vietnam, I didn't go into detail about other places in Asia.  However, I know it is very prevalent in Thailand, also.  I can be reached through my email,
I will be happy to help anyone regarding this if they are making a claim. I have statistics where it shows the amount of people in the U.S. getting this cancer compared to the number of Vietnam immigrants and the difference is astronomical.
These parasites live in the muscle of the fish and if the fish is not frozen correctly they may still be there, then if it is not cooked correctly, it may be there.  A person may or may not have symptoms when they eat the fish that has the parasites.   The parasites may be excreted or even killed off, but they already have done damage to the DNA of the bile duct and it usually takes between 30-to 40 years for the cancer to develop.  That is why many of our vets are coming down with it now.   Also, many times it is misdiagnosed because it ends up in the liver, so it is just stated as a liver cancer.  Won't go into any more detail here, but just wanted to let you know to contact me if I can be of help.  As stated in a previous reply, Sheila Harrison is a great source of information.  She was the one who put the whole thing together when her husband passed away from this cancer.  Just a note to all others, I am not a sushi eater, nor was my husband, although he did have some smoked fish in Vietnam.  I don't want to start rumors either and I don't know if this is true, but if you notice most of our fish is now coming from Vietnam or Thailand.  Don't want to alarm anyone, but I would be very careful about eating fish from there and would never ever eat sushi from anywhere.

Re: a rumor about parasite warning

Mario, very interesting and thank you for posting this. My husband passed last December at the age of 78 and served in Korea. I have been wondering why we are getting more young people, between the age of 20 - 40, who have never been to Aisa and logically I had thought about Sushi because it is such a popular item. The kids today eat Sushi like my kids ate McDonalds. Mmmm guess that wasn't so great either but thank goodness they are healthy and in their late 40's. I have also noticed that we have more members from the East and West Coast then Mid America. Againm thanks for your post.


Re: a rumor about parasite warning

mario....I am so sorry to hear of your husband's passing to this disease and would like to thank you for joining in and for sharing your information with us.  Hopefully we will be able to continue this thread so that others can find it easily.  Thank you again.
All my best wishes,


Re: a rumor about parasite warning

Elizabeth, Not a rumor.   Here is the link to the Veterans Administration appeals claims for cholangiocarcinoma.  Note that the number of appeals being approved has gone UP dramatically in the last couple years.  You can open each case and see what was listed as the cause - some for liver flukes, some for agent orange.  I haven't seen any yet for asbestos but the Department of Labor has put out a publication saying that asbestos definitely is a cause as well.  In all of my research focusing on why veterans get this disease I have found that the only one of the three that medical and science professionals have said there is conclusive evidence for a link is for liver flukes.  Dioxin (in agent orange) and asbestos are listed as strong risk factors but they say not enough scientific studies to be conclusive.  Nonetheless, the VA has approved a number of appeals citing agent orange.  My husband's doctor has written a letter for our claim in which he says that my husband's cholangiocarcinoma, liver and gall bladder cancers are at least 70% service connected due to his many Western Pacific cruises in the Navy exposing him to liver flukes and lots of asbestos.  So here is the URL: … ocarcinoma

Re: a rumor about parasite warning

Dear Mary, thank you so very much for reviving this thread. Like I said above my husband served in Korea and today this is my most nagging question. He was extremely healthy until this cropped up at 73. I know he would try any fish anywhere at anytime. Just not sure they (VA) would listen to me now as he has been gone almost 3 years, nothing can be proved now. But I am very happy you started this thread again and thank you so much. Hopefully it can help someone else.


Re: a rumor about parasite warning

Hi Lainy,
Is it possible for your husband's doctor to review his medical records and write a letter stating that "more likely than not" his cholangiocarcinoma was caused by his eating fish during his military service in Korea? I don't know anything about the process of filing a claim with the VA and whether there is a time limit? But, it might be worth investigating. My brother's oncologist brought it up to him and said that he is quite sure that he got it from his military service in Vietnam. My brother has told me that their only source of water was from the local streams and rivers. They dipped their canteens in the polluted rivers and dropped a couple of "water purification tablets" in it and drank it. Apparently the iodine tablets kill bacteria and not parasites. I'm trying to research about that now, and have found confirmation about that for other parasites, but haven't been able to find information about liver flukes specifically.

Re: a rumor about parasite warning

Hi Peggy, thanks for the info. I seem to get all up about it and then I loose my momentum. I am not sure that what we would receive would be worth the stress of going through it all. Normally I am a fighter for things like this but for 2 years now have been on some heavy Med stuff due to Ulcerative Colitis that we can't get in to remission! The Meds play havoc on me and I am sure that is why I have not proceeded on this. To receive a small stipend for what he endured in Korea and with CC, just not sure it's worth the stress. Of those that have 'won' their cases of course no one talks about amounts. Just not sure I can handle this right now. But thanks. One day I just may surprise myself. I know! I NEED a secretary!


Re: a rumor about parasite warning

Hi ,everyone,

It is also important that we realize that currently, 80% of the seafood  that we eat in the States are from foreign sources. Since prevention is the key to prevent diseases such as this one, I think it is as important as trying to find out the cause.

God bless.

Please know that my personal opinion is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. If  provided, information are for educational purposes.Consult doctor is a MUST for changing of treatment plans.