Historical Events

Cancer becomes more common among Labrador Eskimos who ate the same Europeanized diets.

“In 1941 another Eskimo, Amos Martin, dled of cancel of the throat. Other cases between 1943 and 1945 in Nain were Boaz Obed, cancer of the stomach, and his wife Rosina, cancer of the womb. Then came Judith White, cancer of the breast (here was successful amputation). Then came two half-breed brothers, John and Amos Voisey, both of whom died of cancer of the throat and mouth. This was followed by John Samiat, Eskimo, cancer of the throat; then Karoline Kojak in 1955, cancer of the womb and breast. All these cases, with the exception of Nochasak, were at Nain and there were undoubtedly cases on other stations; all died with the exception of Mrs. Kojak who returned from hospital last summer and is still living.”


This paragraph was read in manuscript by Dr. Philip R. White, specialist in vegetable cancers but a general student of malignancy problems. He suggests that the paired junctions are remarkable and should not pass without remark — two men who die of stomach cancer whose respective wives die of womb cancer; and both of a pair of brothers who died of throat cancer. Numerous commentary possibilities rise to mind. However, with the foregoing analysis of the views expressed by northern medical missionaries in mind, it is fairly obvious what their suggestions would be. Believing that cancer is environmental in causation and chiefly nutritional, they would point out that husband and wife almost necessarily live in the same houses and eat the same foods prepared the same way. Like similarity would hold for brothers. So, why should not a nutritional disease be likely to strike these paired individuals within a few years of each other?

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