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In Brief: Cancer Trends and Risks Among Hispanics

Leaf detail

Obesity in Adults by Ethnicity and Sex,
United States, 2009 Through 2010.1

Cancer now tops heart disease as the leading cause of death among US Hispanics, with lifestyle-related risk factors varying based on a person’s country of origin, according to reports published online yesterday in CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians.

The positive trend is that both cancer incidence and deaths have declined slightly among Hispanics over the 10-year period studied (2000 to 2009); it’s just that heart disease dropped even more quickly. The report estimates that in 2012, 112,800 new cases of cancer will be diagnosed and 33,200 cancer deaths will occur among Hispanics.

The cancers seen among Hispanics may reflect the demographics: Just one in ten US Hispanics is 55 years or older compared with almost one in three non-Hispanics. The majority of cancers are diagnosed among people ages 55 and older.

Hispanic refers to persons of Mexican, Cuban, Puerto Rican, South or Central American, or other Spanish descent. Among this diverse population, Hispanics have lower incidence and death rates than non-Hispanic whites for all cancers combined and for the four most common cancers: breast, prostate, lung and bronchus, and colorectum. Hispanics have higher incidence and mortality for several types of cancers, including liver, stomach, and gallbladder. This could reflect differences in lifestyle and diet, screening rates, and genetic factors, the report notes.

A second report focusing on prevention pulled data on diet, activity and other risk factors from several government surveys among adults and adolescents. The authors found that as a group, Hispanic adults are more likely to be obese compared to non-Hispanics. For sub-groups, self-reported data suggests that Mexicans and Puerto Ricans are more likely to be obese than Cubans, Central/South Americans, or Dominicans (see chart). Obesity is linked to increased risk of seven cancers.

Hispanic adults are less likely to be current smokers or frequent alcohol drinkers compared with non-Hispanics, with Cuban men and Puerto Rican men having higher rates. These risk factors are also prevalent among teenagers. Among Hispanic adolescents, one of every five teens reported using a tobacco product and close to half report drinking alcohol.

Hispanics are the fastest growing demographic group in the United States, making up approximately 16 percent of the US population in 2010.


Sources:

  1. Vilma E. Cokkinides, Priti Bandi, Rebecca L. Siegel, Ahmedin Jemal. “Cancer-related risk factors and preventive measures in US Hispanics/Latinos.” CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians. Article first published online: September 17 2012.
  2. Rebecca Siegel, Deepa Naishadham, Ahmedin Jemal. “Cancer statistics for Hispanics/Latinos, 2012.” CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians. Article first published online: September 17 2012.

Published on September 5, 2014

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