News Column

Cancer Becomes Leading Cause of Death for US Hispanics

Sept. 18, 2012

Despite declining death rates, cancer has surpassed heart disease as the leading cause of death among Hispanics in the United States, shows a report released Monday from American Cancer Society.

In 2009, the most recent year in which actual data are available, 29,935 people of Hispanic origin in the United States died of cancer, compared to 29,611 deaths from heart disease, according to the report. Among non-Hispanic whites and African Americans, heart disease remains the number one cause of death.

Among U.S. Hispanics during the past ten years of available data (2000-2009), cancer incidence rates declined by 1.7 percent per year among men and 0.3 percent per year among women. That compares to declines of 1.0 percent and 0.2 percent among non-Hispanic men and women, respectively.

Cancer death rates among Hispanics declined by 2.3 percent per year in men and 1.4 percent per year in women during that same time period, compared with annual declines of 1.5 percent and 1.3 percent among non-Hispanic white men and women, respectively.

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).

In contrast, Hispanics have higher incidence and mortality rates for cancers of the stomach, liver, uterine cervix, and gallbladder, reflecting greater exposure to cancer-causing infectious agents, lower rates of screening for cervical cancer, and possibly genetic factors.

The report estimates that in 2012 an estimated 112,800 new cases of cancer will be diagnosed and 33,200 cancer deaths will occur among Hispanics.

Hispanics/Latinos are the largest and fastest growing major demographic group in the United States, accounting for 16.3 percent (50.5 million out of 310 million) of the U.S. population in 2010.

Source: Copyright Xinhua News Agency - CEIS 2012

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