In 2002, 17.8% of the global cancer burden was attributable to infections. This study assessed the age-standardized incidence and mortality rates of stomach, liver, and cervical cancer in Puerto Rico (PR) for the period 1992-2003 and compared them to those of Hispanics (USH), non-Hispanic Whites (NHW), and non-Hispanic Blacks (NHB) in the United States (US).
Age-standardized rates [ASR(World)] were calculated based on cancer incidence and mortality data from the PR Cancer Central Registry and SEER, using the direct method and the world population as the standard. Annual percent changes (APC) were calculated using the Poisson regression model from 1992-2003.
The incidence and mortality rates from stomach, liver and cervical cancer were lower in NHW than PR; with the exception of mortality from cervical cancer which was similar in both populations. Meanwhile, the incidence rates of stomach, liver and cervical cancers were similar between NHB and PR; except for NHB women who had a lower incidence rate of liver cancer than women in PR. NHB had a lower mortality from liver cancer than persons in PR, and similar mortality from stomach cancer.
The burden of liver, stomach, and cervical cancer in PR compares to that of USH and NHB and continues to be a public health priority. Public health efforts are necessary to further decrease the burden of cancers associated to infections in these groups, the largest minority population groups in the US. Future studies need to identify factors that may prevent infections with cancer-related agents in these populations. Strategies to increase the use of preventive strategies, such as vaccination and screening, among minority populations should also be developed.