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Cancer Causes Control. 1995 Nov;6(6):525-31.

Cancer in Mediterranean migrants--based on studies in France and Australia.

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  • 1Institut National d'Etudes Démographiques, Paris, France.


Whether non-European Mediterranean populations also benefit from the protective effect on health of the so-called Mediterranean diet is not know yet, as national mortality statistics are available in neither North Africa nor the Near East. This article investigates the cancer profile of Maghrebian and Near Eastern migrants, by gathering and discussing data from recent studies on cancer mortality in Mediterranean migrants of various origins in France and Australia. In France, the migrants originating from Morocco, and in Australia, the migrants originating from the Near East, have a lower mortality from all cancers than their host countries and than Italian migrants. Concerning specific sites, Moroccan and Near Eastern migrants have a cancer profile which is quite similar to that of the Italian migrants, with relatively low risks compared with the local-born for certain cancers typical of affluent societies (colon and rectum, breast, ovary, and prostate). In addition, the non-European Mediterranean migrants are protected even more than the Italians in the same host country from esophagus cancer, and Moroccans in France have a much lower risk than the local-born for lung cancer. Lastly, they tend to have a relatively high risk for some cancers which are likely to have a viral etiology: e.g., nasopharynx (Italians and Near Easterners), liver (Near Eastern males), and possibly cervix (Moroccans).

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