Journal cover

Journal cover

Add another crime against humanity to the rampage of Nazism. The November 2009 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute* reports that Jewish Holocaust survivors are at a higher risk for the incidence of cancer. Previous studies, in non-Jewish populations, investigating the relationship of cancer incidence rates to physical and psychological stress, such as famine and mental stress, reached inclusive results.

But Dr. Lital Keinan-Boker of the University of Haifa, and colleagues compared the cancer rates in a cohort of over 300,000 Israeli Jews who were born in Europe and immigrated to Israel before or during World War II (the non-exposed group) with cancer rates in a cohort of European-born Israeli Jews who immigrated from Europe AFTER World War II*. The strongest associations were with breast and colorectal cancer.

A companion study from the University of Texas—MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, discuss these results in European-born Israeli Jews and those of several past studies of calorie reduction and cancer risk. They say the data from this study add to the growing body of literature on the effects of severely restricted calorie intake and of unimaginable psychosocial and physical hardships on cancer risk. They wrote, “From this unique cohort we can learn lessons about adaptation to extreme hardships in early life, resilience during life, and cancer susceptibility later in life.”

* Note. The Journal of the NCI is not affiliated with the U.S. National Cancer Institute. It is published by Oxford University Press.
** Note 2. Exposure was based on immigration dates because no individual data were available on actual Holocaust exposure.
Note 3. I guess they should compare the results to Jewish post war immigrants to Australia and the US, and dare I say, Canada. and see what the results are, in order to correct for the Israeli diet and stressful environment versus the North American diet.

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