Cancer Causes & Control

, 20:1873 | Cite as

Cancer profile of migrants from the Former Soviet Union in Germany: incidence and mortality

  • Volker Winkler
  • Jördis J. Ott
  • Bernd Holleczek
  • Christa Stegmaier
  • Heiko Becher
Original paper


This study compares cancer mortality and incidence of ethnic German migrants from the Former Soviet Union (FSU) in Germany. Data were obtained from two migrant cohorts residing in the federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) (n = 34,393) and Saarland (n = 18,619). Vital status of the NRW cohort was ascertained through local population registries. Causes of death were obtained from the NRW statistical office or from local health offices. Cancer incidence of the Saarland cohort was derived from the Saarland cancer registry using record linkage. From 1990 to 2005, we observed 708 cancer deaths and 586 incident cancer cases. In males, both cancer incidence and cancer mortality were similar to the German population. Female cancer incidence and mortality were lower, the latter significantly. Site-specific standardized mortality and incidence ratios showed great variation in comparison to Germans and were remarkably similar to each other for most sites. Lung cancer was elevated among males, but lower among females. Stomach cancer was higher contrasting with lower ratios for prostate cancer, male colorectal cancer, and female breast cancer. Results confirm that FSU-migrants suffer from cancers, which may be prevented by prevention programs. Furthermore, we cannot conclude a different health-seeking behavior compared to Germans.


Cancer incidence Cancer mortality Migrants Germany Cohort study 



The study was funded by a grant of the German Research Foundation, Graduate College 793: “Epidemiology of communicable and chronic noncommunicable diseases and their interrelationships.”


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Volker Winkler
    • 1
  • Jördis J. Ott
    • 1
  • Bernd Holleczek
    • 2
  • Christa Stegmaier
    • 2
  • Heiko Becher
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Public Health, Unit Epidemiology and BiostatisticsUniversity Hospital HeidelbergHeidelbergGermany
  2. 2.Saarland Cancer RegistrySaarbrückenGermany

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