8 Tragic Portraits of Life and Death From a ‘Cancer Village’ in China

Lu Yungui and his three brothers who all passed away from cancer. Taken on April 6, 2015. (Image: cnr.cn)
Lu Yungui and his three brothers who all passed away from cancer. Taken on April 6, 2015. (Image: cnr.cn)

A photographer visited this cancer village in Hunan Province eight months ago to report on the area’s unusual news, and recently returned during the Qingming Festival, a traditional holiday when people pay respect to the deceased.

Through his lens, he captured these sad scenes, and the awful truth about what is happening in Hanshou County due to environmental pollution from mining, and arsenic poisoning.

There were over 260 villagers there a decade ago, but the number of inhabitants is now down to 73.

Fifteen were diagnosed with cancer in the past 10 years, and nine have passed away. Also over 10 villagers have developed other serious diseases, such as pulmonary emphysema, diabetes, coronary artery disease, and cerebral infarction. Those who can afford to have left the village.

Perhaps more appalling is that everyone who still lives there suffers from gallstones or kidney stones.

(Image: cnr.cn)

Huang Liuying’s father died from skin cancer, while her husband died from lung cancer. Taken on April 5, 2015. (Image: Weibo.com)

Huang Bingshen, a pneumoconiosis patient who has no money for treatment and can only wait for death to come (Aug 7, 2014). (Image: cnr.cn)

Huang Bingshen, a pneumoconiosis patient who has no money for treatment, and can only wait for death to come. Taken on Aug. 7, 2014. (Image: Weibo.com)

(Image: cnr.cn)

Cancer took the lives of Huang Liuying’s loved ones, and left her in an unstable mental state. Taken on Aug. 10, 2014. (Image: Weibo.com)

(Image: cnr.cn)

Xu Zhuying, a myomectomy survivor, shows the color of the water she used to drink. Taken on April 5, 2015. (Image: Weibo.com)

(Image: cnr.cn)

Bone cancer sufferer Lu Yunxue having a night bath. Taken on Aug. 10, 2014. (Image: Weibo.com)

(Image: cnr.cn)

The Lu brothers—the elder ones died from lung cancer, the third brother has bone cancer, and the youngest is presently okay. Taken on Aug. 7, 2014. (Image: Weibo.com)

(Image: cnr.cn)

Granny Zhang is all alone; her husband died from lung cancer, and her son and grandchild drowned in an accident. Taken on Aug. 10, 2014. (Image: Weibo.com)

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