Background: The American Cancer Society, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Cancer Institute, and North American Association of Central Cancer Registries collaborate annually to provide U.S. cancer information, this year featuring the first comprehensive compilation of cancer information for U.S. Latinos.
Methods: Cancer incidence was obtained from 90% of the Hispanic/Latino and 82% of the U.S. populations. Cancer deaths were obtained for the entire U.S. population. Cancer screening, risk factor, incidence, and mortality data were compiled for Latino and non-Latino adults and children (incidence only). Long-term (1975-2003) and fixed-interval (1995-2003) trends and comparative analyses by disease stage, urbanicity, and area poverty were evaluated.
Results: The long-term trend in overall cancer death rates, declining since the early 1990s, continued through 2003 for all races and both sexes combined. However, female lung cancer incidence rates increased from 1975 to 2003, decelerating since 1991 and breast cancer incidence rates stabilized from 2001 to 2003. Latinos had lower incidence rates in 1999-2003 for most cancers, but higher rates for stomach, liver, cervix, and myeloma (females) than did non-Latino white populations. Latino children have higher incidence of leukemia, retinoblastoma, osteosarcoma, and germ-cell tumors than do non-Latino white children. For several common cancers, Latinos were less likely than non-Latinos to be diagnosed at localized stages.
Conclusions: The lower cancer rates observed in Latino immigrants could be sustained by maintenance of healthy behaviors. Some infection-related cancers in Latinos could be controlled by evidence-based interventions. Affordable, culturally sensitive, linguistically appropriate, and timely access to cancer information, prevention, screening, and treatment are important in Latino outreach and community networks.