Study Examines How Surroundings and Country of Origin Affect Cancer Rates in Hispanics

August 10, 2009 07:00 AM
by findingDulcinea Staff
A study of Floridians from Spanish-speaking countries finds that moving to the U.S. increases the rate of cancer and that immigrants from Cuba, Mexico and Puerto Rico have varying rates of cancer.

Look at Cancer Rates for Cubans, Mexicans, Puerto Ricans

A study performed by the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine found that the rate of cancer in natives of Cuba, Puerto Rico or Mexico who moved to Florida is 40 percent higher than those who remained in their country of origin.

The increase is in agreement with previous research conducted by the World Health Organization, which has found that industrialized nations have higher rates of cancer. “It’s related to becoming overweight, a lack of exercise, eating rich food and red and processed meats,” said Dr. Paulo Pinheiro, the study’s lead author. Industrialized nations also have older populations, increasing the rate of cancer.

The study looked at Cubans, Mexicans, Puerto Ricans and “New Latinos,” referring to people from all other Spanish-speaking countries, individually. It is one of the first studies to look at the cancer rates in these individual subpopulations; previous studies have examined Hispanics as one large ethnic group.
It found that Puerto Ricans had the highest rate overall and the Mexicans the lowest. However, Mexicans had the highest rate of cancers associated with low socioeconomic status, such as cervical, liver, and stomach cancers. Cubans had high rates of cancers associated with tobacco use, such as lung cancer.

Hispanics are not all the same with regard to their cancer experience,” said Dr. Pinheiro. “Targeted interventions for cancer prevention and control should take into account the specificity of each Hispanic subgroup: Cubans, Puerto Ricans or Mexicans.”

Dr. Amelie G. Ramirez, director of the Institute for Health Promotion Research, commented, “They are really heterogeneous from cultural and socioeconomic perspectives and represent several population groups.”

Related: Are Racial Disparities in Cancer Survival Rates Due to Biological Factors?

Reference: Full text of study


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