Hispanics Have Unique Cancer Risks

American Cancer Society says targeted prevention efforts needed

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TUESDAY, Aug. 19, 2003 (HealthDayNews) -- Hispanics, the fastest growing minority in the United States, have a unique cancer risk profile that requires a targeted approach to prevention, says an American Cancer Society report.

Hispanics are less likely than whites to develop and die from the most common kinds of cancer, but they have higher rates of some other kinds of cancer and are more likely to have cancer diagnosed at a later stage, the report says.

The report, which appears in the July/August issue of CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians, says that, compared to Caucasians, Hispanics:

  • Have lower incidence and mortality from all cancers combined, as well as from each of the four most common cancers -- lung, breast, colon and prostate.
  • Have higher rates of some other kinds of cancers, including cancers of the stomach, liver, cervix and biliary tract.
  • Are less likely to use screening tests for colon, prostate and cervical cancer.
  • Have higher rates of overweight and lower rates of physical activity, factors increasingly associated with cancer.
  • Have traditionally been much less likely to smoke.

As a group, Hispanics have different cancer risks and rates compared to other ethnic groups. Because of that, Hispanics require different cancer prevention methods.

"All of the approaches that are most important in the general population -- preventing and treating tobacco dependence, increasing access to high quality cancer screening and appropriate follow-up care, increasing physical activity, maintaining a health body weight, etc. -- are important for Hispanics," Dr. Michael J. Thun, the American Cancer Society's vice president for epidemiological and surveillance research, says in a news release.

"In addition, several other approaches are particularly important for this group: maintaining the frequency of Pap testing, vaccination for hepatitis B, removing barriers that interfere with access to high quality screening and medical care, and forming partnerships to deliver health messages more effectively," Thun says.

More information

Here's where you can learn more about Hispanic health issues.

SOURCE: American Cancer Society, news release, August 2003

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