"In particular, immigrants seem to be protected from typical lifestyle-related cancers, such as colon cancer and lung cancer," Kirsti Vik Hjerkind from the Cancer Register said.
Norwegian researchers explained the startling findings with differences in eating habits, venturing that immigrants probably continue with their plant-based diet from home countries, whereas ethnic Norwegians have a western diet with a fair share of fat, sugar, salt, and red meat. Lower consumption of alcohol and more sparing smoking habits in comparison with "typical Western levels" is thought to have had an impact on the results as well. Drinking alcohol and smoking is particularly linked to a higher risk of breast cancer in pre-menopausal women.
"Immigrants from outside of Europe tend to consume more vegetables and less fast-food in their diet," Doctor Wasim Zahid from the University of Oslo said, admitting that he was not very surprised by the results.
While non-Europeans tend to develop breast and colon cancer less often than those born in Norway, other cancer types were found to be more prevalent among immigrants. For instance, Eastern European men proved more susceptible to lung cancer, which was ascribed to their smoking habits, whereas migrants from parts of Asia and Africa reportedly ran a higher risk of developing liver cancer than the general Norwegian population, which was attributed to hepatitis viruses common in these areas.
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