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Serbian doctors link the growth of cancer diseases in Serbia to the 1999 NATO bombardments

December 29, 2013, 1:21 UTC+3 BELGRADE
The bombs dropped on the territory of Serbia contained low-enriched uranium which causes cancer, respiratory and allergic diseases
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© AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic

BELGRADE, December 29, 1:09 /ITAR-TASS/. At least 40,000 new cancer cases will be revealed in Serbia in 2014 and 22,000 people are expected to die of cancer next year in a country with a population of 7.2 million people. This grim forecast was made by Slobodan Cekaric, the head of the Serbian Society against Cancer. He says that a sharp rise in the number of cancer diseases is a direct consequence of the 1999 NATO bombardments of Serbia which lasted for 78 days.

A 15-year-long latent period in the development of cancer diseases is ending in 2014. After that, the signs of illnesses caused by the impact of radioactive materials will start coming to surface. The bombs dropped on the territory of Serbia contained low-enriched uranium which causes cancer, respiratory and allergic diseases, neurological disorders, reproductive problems and impaired development of children.

A report published by the Doctor Milan Jovanovic Batut National Institute of Public Health in 2007 warned about “a quiet epidemic of malignant diseases” in Serbia. Thus, men’s morbidity with prostate cancer increased by 60% from 1999 to 2005. Other cancer-induced diseases are also on the rise both among men and women. Cancer is one of the main causes of death around the globe, claiming about 8 million human lives annually. However, malignant diseases in Serbia grow at a higher rate than in Western Europe, increasing from year to year, Serbian doctors say.

The situation is particularly alarming in southern Serbia which was worst hit by NATO bombs. According to Radomir Kovacevic, the head of the radiological protection department of the Doctor Dragomir Karajovic Institute, people who live in the uranium-polluted areas, run the risk of falling ill with lymph cancer, leukemia, breast and lung cancer.

In 1999, 194 men and 173 women per 100,000 residents in southern Serbia suffered from cancer. According to the latest statistics, 292 men and 251 women per 100,000 people in southern Serbia are ill with malignant diseases.

Kovacevic believes that the consequences of pollution of environment with low-enriched uranium will be long and numerous.

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