Historical Event

Dr Ray N. Lawson believes most or all other types of malignancy to be as rare as breast cancer, among those Eskimos of the Canadian Arctic who still depend for the main part of their food on fat and lean seal's meat, cooked moderately or eaten raw.

Document Title:

Dr. Ray N. Lawson of 4459 Sherbrooke Street West, Montreal 6 Conversation

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Since this statement is restricted to one localized form of malignancy, breast cancer, I arranged through mutual friends to meet, on my next visit to Montreal, Dr. Ray N. Lawson of 4459 Sherbrooke Street West, Montreal 6. He said in conversation, and has more recently said in writing, that he believes most or all other types of malignancy to be as rare as breast cancer, among those Eskimos of the Canadian Arctic who still depend for the main part of their food on fat and lean seal's meat, cooked moderately or eaten raw. Those whom he investigated, up to the end of 1957, were typically seal hunters, not much dependent on fur trapping, very little dependent on European foods or on European-style cooking.

At first Dr. Lawson's inability to find cancer led him to think that there might be some special immunizing agent in seal's fat, particularly if rancid. However, my understanding later (as of middle 1958) was that while he remains a believer in the general merit of high-fat, low-carbohydrate, little-cooked diets, he is no longer so strongly inclined to believe that seal's fat, fresh or rancid, has any marked anticarcinogenic effect, beyond whatever merit there is in the Stone Age Eskimo way of life as a whole. He feels that “there is something in primitive [Eskimo] diet that protects from malignant disease.”

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