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Study shows Hispanics have lower cancer rates

When it comes to cancer rates, it’s especially good to be Hispanic. That is the conclusion of a new report by the North American Association of Central Cancer Registries (NAACCR) describing the burden of cancer in the U.S. Hispanic/Latino population. Statistics in the report reflect the cancer experience of more than 86 percent of the U.S. Hispanic/Latino population.

The report was designed, prepared and released by the NAACCR in conjunction with the USC Los Angeles Cancer Surveillance Program at the Keck School of Medicine.

“For 30 years, it has been a high priority of the USC Los Angeles Cancer Surveillance Program to provide cancer information for the diverse ethnic population of Los Angeles County. This NAACCR report now combines our information with similar information from other U.S. areas to provide a clearer picture of the cancer burden in America,” said Dennis Deapen, NAACCR president, director of the USC Los Angeles Cancer Surveillance Program and professor of preventive medicine at the Keck School.

Overall, the report shows a lower incidence of cancers for Hispanic populations than other populations in this country. It is believed that part of the explanation for this is the relatively large number of recent immigrants. Hispanic immigrants typically come from countries where cancer rates are lower than in the US.

Data from a number of states and major cities including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Detroit, New Jersey, New Mexico and many others are included in the report.

The major findings include:

• Hispanic populations had lower incidence for all cancers combined and for the four leading cancers (breast, prostate, lung and colorectal) than non-Hispanic populations.

• Several specific cancers occurred at higher rates among Hispanic populations than among non-Hispanic populations, regardless of gender, including cancers of the liver, gallbladder and penis and acute lymphocytic leukemia. Hispanic rates for cancers of the stomach and cervix were higher than those for non-Hispanic whites, and Hispanic rates for cancers of the testes and brain and non-Hodgkin lymphoma were higher than those for non-Hispanic blacks.

• Age-adjusted incidence rates among Hispanic populations varied widely by geographic area.

• As with adults, the overall incidence of most cancers in Hispanic children and adolescents was lower than in non-Hispanic populations. Some exceptions were the leukemias, Hodgkin’s lymphoma and retinoblastoma (an aggressive cancer of the retina).

“Overall rates of cancer among Hispanics in Los Angeles are much lower than some other areas in the U.S,” said Lihua Liu, an editor of the report and research scientist at the USC Los Angeles Cancer Surveillance Program and the Keck School.

“For example, overall cancer incidence among Hispanics in Florida is 23 percent higher [than other areas]. We believe that part of the explanation for this is the Hispanic population in Florida is more likely to have roots in Cuba and Puerto Rico, where lifestyles are different from the Mexican and Central American origin of many Hispanics in Los Angeles. We hope that we can use this information to learn how to further reduce the occurrence of cancer among Hispanics.”

The full report is available on the NAACCR Web site at http://www.naaccr.org.

Study shows Hispanics have lower cancer rates

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