Background: Asian Americans (AA) are the fastest growing U.S. population, and when properly distinguished by their ethnic origins, exhibit substantial heterogeneity in socioeconomic status, health behaviors, and health outcomes. Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States, yet trends and current patterns in the mortality burden of cancer among AA ethnic groups have not been documented.
Methods: We report age-adjusted rates, standardized mortality ratios, and modeled trends in cancer-related mortality in the following AA ethnicities: Asian Indians, Chinese, Filipinos, Japanese, Koreans, and Vietnamese, from 2003 to 2011, with non-Hispanic whites (NHW) as the reference population.
Results: For most cancer sites, AAs had lower cancer mortality than NHWs; however, mortality patterns were heterogeneous across AA ethnicities. Stomach and liver cancer mortality was very high, particularly among Chinese, Koreans, and Vietnamese, for whom these two cancer types combined accounted for 15% to 25% of cancer deaths, but less than 5% of cancer deaths in NHWs. In AA women, lung cancer was a leading cause of death, but (unlike males and NHW females) rates did not decline over the study period.
Conclusions: Ethnicity-specific analyses are critical to understanding the national burden of cancer among the heterogeneous AA population.
Impact: Our findings highlight the need for disaggregated reporting of cancer statistics in AAs and warrant consideration of tailored screening programs for liver and gastric cancers. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev; 25(10); 1–12. ©2016 AACR.
Note: Supplementary data for this article are available at Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention Online (http://cebp.aacrjournals.org/).
- Received March 17, 2016.
- Revision received June 2, 2016.
- Accepted June 23, 2016.
- ©2016 American Association for Cancer Research.