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For Hispanics, a Unique Cancer Profile Emerges
Date:9/15/2009

Report finds they're less likely to die of cancer but more apt to have certain malignancies,,

TUESDAY, Sept. 15 (HealthDay News) -- Hispanics in the United States are less likely to die from cancer than non-Hispanic whites, but they have higher rates of cancers linked to infections, including stomach, liver and cervix malignancies, a new report says.

At first glance, Hispanics' lower death rate from cancer seems to be good news, but one explanation is that the Hispanic population skews younger than the general U.S. population. Cancer risk rises with age.

The new detailed look at cancer incidence is from Cancer Facts & Figures for Hispanics/Latinos 2009-2011, a report released Sept. 15 that's published every three years by the American Cancer Society.

Hispanics are the largest, fastest-growing and youngest minority in the United States, according to the report. They also have a cancer risk profile that differs from whites and other ethnic groups.

Hispanics are less likely than non-Hispanic whites to die from the four most common cancers: breast, prostate, colorectal and lung.

But Hispanics have higher rates of stomach cancer, associated with Helicobacter pylori infection; liver cancer, associated with hepatitis B and C infection; and cervical cancer, linked to human papillomavirus infection.

Immunizations against human papillomavirus in teenage girls can prevent cervical cancer, and regular gynecological screenings for women can catch cervical cancer early, but Hispanic women are less likely to get either, said Vilma Cokkinides, the American Cancer Society's director for risk factor surveillance.

And though Hispanics are less likely to smoke and drink alcohol, both risk factors for cancer, they are more likely to be poor, have fewer years of education and lack health insurance, barriers to getting recommended screenings, according to the report.

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