Cancer : the survivors of the Holocaust are more at risk

Health 10 July, 2017


Published the 10.07.2017 at 17h01


Keywords :

cancerSeconde world War

These archive images have marked the minds of many schoolchildren. First, the trains filled to the brim, in the direction of Germany. And then these columns composed of thousands of prisoners released from concentration camps and extermination. Emaciated, abused, sick for the most part, these survivors have yet come down through the years. And the consequences of these deprivations on health vary.

If they live on average longer, the victims of the Shoah are also more at risk of developing a cancer. This is what shows a study conducted by the medical Center Chaim-Sheab, in Israel, with 152 600 survivors. It notes, in the journal Cancer, that the persecutions during the Second world War promote certain tumors.

Lung and colon-rectum

The authors of this work have observed the evolution of these thousands of survivors of the Shoah on 45 years. Their analysis was carried out according to two criteria : the compensation obtained or not because of the persecutions caused by nazi Germany and its allies, and the fact of living in a busy area or not.

The victims of the Holocaust are at a disadvantage relative to those who have not had to suffer the persecution of the nazi regime. 22 % of jews who have received a compensation official have developed cancer, compared to 16 % among those who have not received such compensation. The risk is particularly increased on two location : colon-rectum (+12 %) and lung (+37 %).

The jews who lived under the nazi regime, whether in Germany or in the occupied zone, did not do better. Compared to the inhabitants of free countries, they are 8 % increased risk of colorectal cancer and 12 % of lung cancer.

Without establishing a causal link, the authors of this study place the conditions of life suffered by the jewish people at the head of the hypotheses of explanation. It is, in effect, the israeli government, which has established the compensation criteria. And it was often granted to people who have lived in a ghetto, a concentration camp or a country under the control of the nazi.