Cancer Now Surpasses Heart Disease: #1 Killer of US Hispanics, New Research Reveals

By Judy Feldman on September 19, 2012 6:12 PM EDT

Cancer
Cancer Surpasses Heart Disease: #1 Killer of US Hispanics, New Research Reveals (Photo: Wiki Commons)

Cancer has now surpassed heart disease as the number one killer of American Latinos, says a new report from the American Cancer Society.

Actually, as the numbers of deaths due to heart disease are decreasing, cancer is becoming the lead killer of nearly everyone in the United States.  Cancer is considered the main cause of death amongst Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders already. It is also the leading cause of death in over a dozen states, period.  And in spite of all this horrid sounding news, and although cancer is surpassing heart disease as a trigger for death amongst many people, the death rate caused by both cancer and heart disease is actually dropping for Latinos and others.

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However, that said, and as reported by CBS, despite the fact that Latinos have some of the lowest rates of breast, colon and prostate cancer, they have some of the highest rates of cervix, gallbladder and stomach cancer. These particular types of cancers are principally caused by viruses like hepatitis B and the human papilloma virus, or can be caused by bacteria.

It's partly demographics, explains the study author Rebecca Siegel. "This is primarily driven by the young age distribution," said Rebecca Siegel, an epidemiologist at the American Cancer Society. In other words, some of the reason cancer is worst among U.S. Hispanics is because of their demographic profile in terms of age distribution, socioeconomic status and immigration history, according to the report.

Methods and strategies to help reduce rates and cancer risk among Hispanics include increasing utilization of screening and available vaccines and implementing effective interventions to reduce tobacco use, obesity and alcohol consumption.

One piece of interesting positive news, however, for Hispanics:

There is a lower incidence death rates [amongst Hispanics in the United States]  than for non-Hispanic whites for all cancers combined and for the four most common cancers (breast, prostate, lung and bronchus, and colorectum).  Hispanics are about half as likely to die from lung cancer as non-Hispanic whites. The risk of lung cancer is lower among Hispanics because they have historically been less likely to smoke cigarettes than non-Hispanic whites, according to the American Cancer Society.

The report, "Cancer Statistics for Hispanics/Latinos 2012," appears in the September/October issue of CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians and its companion publication, "Cancer Facts & Figures for Hispanics/Latinos, 2012-2014."  You can access and read the report, here.

© 2012 iScience Times All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.

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