Objective: To directly compare cancer incidence among Hispanic children and non-Hispanic white children in California and Florida, two states in the United States of America that include nearly one in three Hispanic children in the country.
Methods: Cross-sectional data for 1988 through 1998 pertaining to all incident pediatric cancer cases (age < 15 years) with race/ethnicity coded as either Hispanic or non-Hispanic white came from the Florida Cancer Data System database and the California Cancer Registry database. The results were expressed as age-standardized incidence rates, standardized to the world standard million population. Hispanic rates and non-Hispanic white rates were compared using standardized incidence ratios (SIRs) with 95% confidence intervals (95% CIs.).
Results: The SIR for all cancers for Hispanic children compared to non-Hispanic white children was 1.02 (95% CI: 0.99, 1.05). For selected tumor types, SIRs indicated higher incidences among Hispanic children for leukemia (SIR = 1.26; 95% CI: 1.19, 1.34), Hodgkin's lymphoma (SIR = 1.29; 95% CI: 1.08, 1.54), and germ cell tumors (SIR = 1.62; 95% CI: 1.34, 1.96). There were lower incidences for the Hispanic children for central nervous system tumors (SIR = 0.72; 95% CI: 0.66, 0.78) and for sympathetic nervous system tumors (SIR = 0.76; 95% CI: 0.66, 0.87). In terms of interstate differences, the incidence of lymphoma, central nervous system tumors, sympathetic nervous system tumors, and malignant bone tumors was highest among Hispanic youth in Florida; the incidence of hepatic tumors was highest among Hispanic youth in California.
Conclusions: While the overall cancer incidence rate among Hispanic children was similar to that for non-Hispanic white children, significant differences for specific tumor types were identified. Since Hispanic ethnicity may be a confounder for other cancer risk factors (e.g., familial, socioeconomic, or environmental), it is recommended that future research into Hispanic pediatric cancer risk investigate these risk factors.