Study: California Ethnic Groups Seeing Increased Cancer Rates

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LOS ANGELES

A statewide study on cancer and ethnicity hints that cancer rates among immigrant groups may be tied to their degree of assimilation into American culture. The study, released by the University of Southern California's Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center, marks the first statewide look at cancer rates among Vietnamese and South Asians and provides a roadmap for what the nation's cancer landscape could look like in 20 years, researchers say.

"We're all in the same community here, drinking the same water and breathing the same air, and yet these cancer rates and trends are profoundly different by ethnic group," says Dr. Dennis Deapen, director of the Los Angeles Cancer Surveillance Program and co-editor of the study. "The best explanation is that California is an immigration landing spot."

Cancer rates vary considerably among California's ethnic groups, with Blacks and Whites reporting the highest overall rates and Asians, particularly South Asians, reporting the overall lowest. California, with 34.5 million people, makes up 12 percent of the nation's population.

These findings are from the report "Cancer Incidence and Mortality in California: Trends by Race and Ethnicity 1988-2001." The study includes 14 years of data from nearly two million Californians diagnosed with invasive cancer, and in some cases, noninvasive cancer.

The study indicates that ethnic groups that have been in the country the longest-Blacks and Whites-have the highest overall rates of cancer, while recent immigrants such as Vietnamese, Koreans, Indians, Pakistanis and Bangladeshis have lower overall rates. Hispanics fall somewhere in the middle. …

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