Epidemiology of cancer among Hispanics in the United States.

E. J. Trapido, R. Burciaga Valdez, J. L. Obeso, N. Strickman-Stein, A. Rotger, E. J. Pérez-Stable

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

80 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: There are very limited data on cancer among U.S. Hispanics. The data that are available seldom appear outside individual registry reports. Without coalescing and assessing such information, the epidemiology of cancer among Hispanics cannot be understood. PURPOSE: This article presents an overall view of the epidemiology of cancer among Hispanic populations in the United States. METHODS: Major types of cancer were reviewed from geographic areas with 1) large Hispanic/Latino populations and 2) population-based cancer registries that cover 68% of the U.S. Hispanic population. Age-standardized rates, standardized rate ratios, and ranks of the top cancers are presented for Hispanics and non-Hispanics by sex. RESULTS: Hispanic men had consistently lower rates of cancers of the lung, prostate, colon, rectum, and oral cavity as well as of melanoma and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma than non-Hispanic men. Among Hispanic men, higher rates were observed for cancers of the stomach, liver, and gallbladder. Compared with the rates in non-Hispanic women, Hispanic women had consistently lower rates of cancers of the breast, colon, rectum, endometrium, lung, ovary, and oral cavity, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, and melanoma and higher rates of cancers of the uterine cervix, stomach, liver, and gallbladder. Perhaps more importantly, however, was that, within U.S. Hispanic populations, the top five sites of cancer for women were breast, colon, lung, cervix, and uterine corpus. For men, the top sites were usually prostate, lung, colon, stomach, and rectum. Furthermore, some geographic areas showed differences in the order of importance within these five sites, while in other areas, the top five cancers for Hispanic men included kidney and bladder cancers, liver cancer, and non-Hodgkin's lymphomas. For women, other leading cancers mentioned were ovarian cancer, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, and gallbladder cancer. CONCLUSIONS: Hispanics had consistently lower rates of breast, lung, prostate, and colon cancers than non-Hispanics. In some geographic regions, however, differences in cancer incidence rates with respect to specific sites existed between the heterogenous Hispanic populations. Furthermore, the rankings demonstrated that, even if Hispanics have lower rates of the most common cancers than non-Hispanics, such sites are still the most important cancers among Hispanic populations. IMPLICATIONS: Cancer is a major problem among U.S. Hispanic populations. The information given in this article can be used to develop etiologic studies and cancer control interventions. Data limitations and recommendations for improving data quality are presented.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)17-28
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of the National Cancer Institute. Monographs
Issue number18
StatePublished - 1995

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

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    Trapido, E. J., Burciaga Valdez, R., Obeso, J. L., Strickman-Stein, N., Rotger, A., & Pérez-Stable, E. J. (1995). Epidemiology of cancer among Hispanics in the United States. Journal of the National Cancer Institute. Monographs, (18), 17-28.