Racial/ethnic groups as used in data published by the US government are defined by sociopolitical and not scientific criteria. Much can be learned through the study of cancer rates of various populations. This knowledge benefits all who are at risk for the disease. Cancer incidence and mortality rates are influenced by numerous extrinsic factors such as diet, socioeconomic status, and cultural factors that often correlate with race/ethnicity. The prevalence of a gene or genetic mutation is often higher in a particular population compared to another. While a specific gene or series of genes can be conserved within a relatively closed population, genetic variation within a given population or race is significant.