Cancer Society reports differences in cancer rates among Asian Americans

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Research from the American Cancer Society shows lung cancer rates in Asian-Americans vary among subgroups.

According to the report, published in CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians and in Cancer Facts & Figures 2016, death rates due to cancer vary among Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders (AANHPIs).

“The variations we see in cancer rates in AANHPIs are related to risk factors, including lifestyle factors, use of screening and preventive services, and exposure to cancer-causing infections,” Lindsey Torre, co-author of the report, said in a press release. “Cancer-control strategies among this population include improved use of vaccination and screening; interventions to increase physical activity and reduce excess body weight, tobacco use, and alcohol consumption; and research to get a more detailed understanding of differences in the cancer burden and risk factors between subgroups.”

The report found that in both Asia and the United States, Chinese women are particularly susceptible to lung cancer. Their risk factors are unknown being that this group is less likely to smoke than other groups. The report suggests that causes of lung cancer could include secondhand smoke, genetic susceptibility or cooking oils at high heat levels.

According to a Hawaii Society of Clinical Oncology report, "Understanding and Improving Lung Cancer Treatment in Asian Americans & Pacific Islanders," lung cancer is 18 percent higher among Americans of Southeast Asian origin when compared to Caucasian Americans. Meanwhile, Vietnamese individuals had the highest rates of lung cancer among all the Asian American groups.

The reports suggests that fatal cases may be caused by limited access to health care within Asian-American communities, with patients having their first encounter with a doctor after going to an emergency room with severe symptoms. By this time, without previous screening tests, there would be a higher chance of being diagnosed with advanced lung cancer.

American Cancer Society reports that three leading causes of cancer deaths in Asian American women are lung, breast and colorectal; the three leading cancer deaths in Asian American men are from lung, liver and colorectal cancers.

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