Disaggregating Hispanic American Cancer Mortality Burden by Detailed Ethnicity

Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2019 Aug;28(8):1353-1363. doi: 10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-18-0872. Epub 2019 May 30.


Background: Hispanics are the largest minority population in the United States (18%). They represent a heterogeneous and growing population. Cancer is the leading cause of death among Hispanics, yet few studies have described cancer mortality burden by specific Hispanic group nationwide.

Methods: Cancer-related deaths from U.S. death certificates for the years 2003-2012 were analyzed for decedents identifying as Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, and Central or South American. We calculated descriptive statistics, including potential years of lives lost (PYLL), age-adjusted rates, standardized mortality ratios, and fitted JoinPoint regression models, to evaluate annual trends by Hispanic group, using non-Hispanic Whites (NHW) as the reference population.

Results: We identified 287,218 cancer-related deaths among Hispanics and 4,570,559 among NHWs. Mortality trends were heterogeneous across Hispanic groups. Female NHWs and male Puerto Ricans had the greatest rates of adjusted PYLL per 1,000 (NHWs, 19.6; Puerto Ricans, 16.5). Liver cancer was ranked among the top 5 cancer-related deaths for every Hispanic group, but not for NHWs. Stomach cancer mortality was twice as high for most Hispanic groups when compared with NHWs and especially high for Mexicans [male standardized mortality ratio (SMR), 2.07; 95% confidence interval (CI), 2.01-2.13; female SMR, 2.62; 95% CI, 2.53-2.71].

Conclusions: We observed marked heterogeneity in cancer mortality across Hispanic groups. Several cancers affect Hispanics disproportionately compared with NHWs. Screening programs in Hispanics should be considered for stomach and liver cancer.

Impact: Disaggregated analysis of Hispanics is needed to fully understand cancer burden among the diverse Hispanic population and is critical for cancer prevention and control efforts.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Cuba / ethnology
  • Female
  • Hispanic or Latino / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Mexican Americans / statistics & numerical data*
  • Mortality / trends
  • Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Neoplasms / ethnology*
  • Neoplasms / mortality*
  • Puerto Rico / ethnology
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Factors
  • South America / ethnology
  • Survival Rate
  • United States / epidemiology