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Study: Disturbing Cancer Rates Among Holocaust Survivors

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MIAMI (CBS4) – A recent study looked at hundreds of thousands of European Jews who had immigrated to Israel before, during, and after World War II and compared cancer rates of those who had emigrated before the Second World War to those who had emigrated after. The results were troubling, according to scientists.

“What they found, surprisingly, I think, is that cancer rates were dramatically higher in people who had stayed in Europe through WWII compared to those who had left earlier,” said Palm Beach Cancer Institute Oncologist, Dr. Robert Green.

“Specifically, they found higher rates of breast cancer, colon cancer, and these were not trivial. In men the rate was 3 ½ times for the group that had left after the war. And for women it was over twice the risk. Some of the hypotheses have been that severe caloric restrictions during the time that people were either in concentration camps, or in ghettos during the war. Psychological stresses, these were people who were put through an enormous amount of psychological stress.”

Eileen Shapiro teaches students about the hardships Holocaust survivors endured.

“The conditions were horrible. There was no sanitation. We absolutely talk about the caloric intake they were given, how little it was, the slave labor that they experienced,” said Shapiro.

An estimated 11 million people died during the holocaust, including six million Jews.

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