Incidence and mortality of the leading cancer types in Puerto Rico: 1987-2004

P R Health Sci J. 2010 Sep;29(3):317-29.


Background: Cancer remains one of the leading causes of morbidity and mortality worldwide and is the second cause of death in Puerto Rico (PR). This article describes the incidence and the mortality from cancer in PR for the period of 1987 to 2004.

Methods: We analyzed data from the PR Central Cancer Registry and the PR Demographic Registry from 1987-2004, for the leading cancer types in men and women in PR. Age-adjusted incidence and mortality rates were estimated by sex, municipality, health region and primary site and were age-standardized to the 2000 PR population.

Results: Incidence rates for overall cancer remained constant in men and increased in women (APC = 0.6%, p < 0.05), while mortality rates decreased (APC = -1.0%) for both sexes. A significant increase was observed in the cancer incidence rates for colorectal cancer in men, while in women, an increase in breast, colorectal, and corpus and uterus cancer was observed. Mortality rates decreased for most of the major cancers types in both sexes, except for colorectal cancer in men which showed a significant increase (p < 0.05).

Conclusion: The most important cancer types in PR (prostate, breast, colorectal, and lung) for both incidence and mortality are susceptible to primary prevention (eliminating or reducing risk factors) or to secondary prevention (early diagnosis) strategies. Our results are essential for the development of cancer prevention and control strategies in the Island.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Neoplasms / mortality
  • Puerto Rico / epidemiology
  • Time Factors