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Concentration camp study shows hunger increases risk of breast cancer

Category: Breast

Starvation among children imprisoned by the Third Reich increased their risk of receiving a positive blood test result for breast cancer later in life five-fold, compared to Jewish women who were inflicted with milder forms of hunger at the time. These findings come from the School of Public Health at the University of Haifa, Israel, and appear in the International Journal of Clinical Practice.

This study of 65 women - with an average age of 76 - showed that 63 percent of the subjects who had taken an affirmative blood test for breast tumor biomarkers resided in nations that had been taken over by Nazis during their childhood. More than 60 percent of the subjects with breast cancer had been seriously deprived of food during the Nazi regime, while only 40 percent of participants with no breast cancer history lived under such conditions.

"The women who took part in our study had all lived under Nazi control for at least six months" said researcher Nemoi Vin-Raviv. "We believe that our findings will be of interest to clinicians treating women involved in any situation such as war and famine, where food is scarce and hunger is severe."

Other research that appeared in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease last August shows that Holocaust survivors also have a greater than average chance of developing dementia associated with old age.

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