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1.  Breast cancer incidence patterns among California Hispanic women: Differences by nativity and residence in an enclave 
Breast cancer incidence is higher in US-born Hispanic women than foreign-born Hispanics, but no studies have examined how these rates have changed over time. To better inform cancer control efforts, we examined incidence trends by nativity and incidence patterns by neighborhood socioeconomic status (SES) and Hispanic enclave (neighborhoods with high proportions of Hispanics or Hispanic immigrants).
Information regarding all Hispanic women diagnosed with invasive breast cancer between 1988 and 2004 were obtained from the California Cancer Registry. Nativity was imputed from Social Security number for the 27% of cases with missing birthplace information. Neighborhood variables were developed from Census data.
From 1988 to 2004, incidence rates for US-born Hispanics were parallel, but lower than, those of non-Hispanic whites, showing an annual 6% decline from 2002 to 2004. Foreign-born Hispanics had an annual 4% increase in incidence rates from 1995 to 1998 and a 1.4% decline thereafter. Rates were 38% higher for US- than foreign-born Hispanics, with elevations more pronounced for localized than regional/distant disease, and for women > 50 years of age. Residence in higher SES and lower Hispanic enclave neighborhoods were independently associated with higher incidence, with Hispanic enclave having a stronger association than SES.
Compared to foreign-born, US-born Hispanic women in California had higher prevalence of breast cancer risk factors, suggesting that incidence patterns largely reflects these differences in risk factors.
Further research is needed to separate the effects of individual- and neighborhood-level factors that impact incidence in this large and growing population.
PMCID: PMC2895619  PMID: 20447917
2.  How Do Social Factors Explain Outcomes in Non–Small-Cell Lung Cancer Among Hispanics in California? Explaining the Hispanic Paradox 
Journal of Clinical Oncology  2013;31(28):3572-3578.
Hispanics in the United States have lower age-adjusted mortality resulting from non–small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) compared with non-Hispanic whites (NHWs). The purpose of this study was to evaluate individual, clinical, and neighborhood factors in survival among Hispanics with NSCLC.
Patients and Methods
We performed a retrospective analysis of NHWs and Hispanics with NSCLC between 1998 and 2007 in the California Cancer Registry (follow-up to December 2009). Kaplan-Meier curves depict survival by nativity for Hispanics with NSCLC. Cox proportional hazards models estimated hazard of mortality by race with adjustment for individual (age, sex, marital status), clinical (histologic grade, surgery, irradiation, chemotherapy), and neighborhood factors (neighborhood socioeconomic status, ethnic enclave).
We included 14,280 Hispanic patients with NSCLC. Foreign-born Hispanics had 15% decreased risk of disease-specific mortality resulting from NSCLC compared with NHWs (hazard ratio [HR], 0.85; 95% CI, 0.83 to 0.88) after adjustment for individual, clinical, and neighborhood factors. After adjustment for individual factors, compared with US-born Hispanics, foreign-born Hispanics had 10% decreased risk of disease-specific mortality (HR, 0.90; 95% CI, 0.87 to 0.96). Clinical and neighborhood factors slightly moderated the survival benefit for foreign-born patients. A modestly more pronounced survival advantage was seen for foreign-born Hispanics living in low socioeconomic and high Hispanic enclave neighborhoods as compared with US-born Hispanics (HR, 0.86; 95% CI, 0.81 to 0.90).
Foreign-born Hispanics with NSCLC have a decreased risk of disease-specific mortality compared with NHWs and US-born Hispanics with NSCLC. Neighborhood factors slightly moderate this survival advantage. This survival advantage is slightly more pronounced in lower socioeconomic and higher Hispanic enclave neighborhoods.
PMCID: PMC3782149  PMID: 23960183
3.  The influence of nativity and neighborhoods on breast cancer stage at diagnosis and survival among California Hispanic women 
BMC Cancer  2010;10:603.
In the US, foreign-born Hispanics tend to live in socioeconomic conditions typically associated with later stage of breast cancer diagnosis, yet they have lower breast cancer mortality rates than their US-born counterparts. We evaluated the impact of nativity (US- versus foreign-born), neighborhood socioeconomic status (SES) and Hispanic enclave (neighborhoods with high proportions of Hispanics or Hispanic immigrants) on breast cancer stage at diagnosis and survival among Hispanics.
We studied 37,695 Hispanic women diagnosed from 1988 to 2005 with invasive breast cancer from the California Cancer Registry. Nativity was based on registry data or, if missing, imputed from case Social Security number. Neighborhood variables were developed from Census data. Stage at diagnosis was analyzed with logistic regression, and survival, based on vital status determined through 2007, was analyzed with Cox proportional hazards regression.
Compared to US-born Hispanics, foreign-born Hispanics were more likely to be diagnosed at an advanced stage of breast cancer (adjusted odds ratio (OR) = 1.14, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.09-1.20), but they had a somewhat lower risk of breast cancer specific death (adjusted hazard ratio (HR) = 0.94, 95% CI: 0.90-0.99). Living in low SES and high enclave neighborhoods was associated with advanced stage of diagnosis, while living in a lower SES neighborhood, but not Hispanic enclave, was associated with worse survival.
Identifying the modifiable factors that facilitate this survival advantage in Hispanic immigrants could help to inform specific interventions to improve survival in this growing population.
PMCID: PMC2988754  PMID: 21050464
4.  Lymphoid malignancies in US Asians: incidence rate differences by birthplace and acculturation 
Malignancies of the lymphoid cells, including non-Hodgkin lymphomas (NHLs), Hodgkin lymphoma (HL) and multiple myeloma (MM), occur at much lower rates in Asians than other racial/ethnic groups in the United States (US). It remains unclear whether these deficits are explained by genetic or environmental factors. To better understand environmental contributions, we examined incidence patterns of lymphoid malignancies among populations characterized by ethnicity, birthplace, and residential neighborhood socioeconomic status (SES) and ethnic enclave status.
We obtained data regarding all Asian patients diagnosed with lymphoid malignancies between 1988 and 2004 from the California Cancer Registry and neighborhood characteristics from US Census data.
While incidence rates of most lymphoid malignancies were lower among Asian than white populations, only follicular lymphoma (FL), chronic lymphocytic leukemia/small lymphocytic lymphoma (CLL/SLL), and nodular sclerosis (NS) HL rates were statistically significantly lower among foreign-born than US-born Asians, with incidence rate ratios ranging from 0.34 to 0.87. Rates of CLL/SLL and NS HL were also lower among Asian women living in ethnic enclaves or lower-SES neighborhoods than those living elsewhere. Conclusions: These observations support strong roles of environmental factors in the causation of FL, CLL/SLL, and NS HL.
Studying specific lymphoid malignancies in US Asians may provide valuable insight towards understanding their environmental causes.
PMCID: PMC3111874  PMID: 21493873
lymphoid malignancies; Asians; immigration; environmental causes
5.  Disparities in Breast Cancer Survival Among Asian Women by Ethnicity and Immigrant Status: A Population-Based Study 
American journal of public health  2010;100(5):861-869.
We investigated heterogeneity in ethnic composition and immigrant status among US Asians as an explanation for disparities in breast cancer survival.
We enhanced data from the California Cancer Registry and the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results program through linkage and imputation to examine the effect of immigrant status, neighborhood socioeconomic status, and ethnic enclave on mortality among Chinese, Japanese, Filipino, Korean, South Asian, and Vietnamese women diagnosed with breast cancer from 1988 to 2005 and followed through 2007.
US-born women had similar mortality rates in all Asian ethnic groups except the Vietnamese, who had lower mortality risk (hazard ratio [HR]=0.3; 95% confidence interval [CI]=0.1, 0.9). Except for Japanese women, all foreign-born women had higher mortality than did US-born Japanese, the reference group. HRs ranged from 1.4 (95% CI=1.2, 1.7) among Koreans to 1.8 (95% CI=1.5, 2.2) among South Asians and Vietnamese. Little of this variation was explained by differences in disease characteristics.
Survival after breast cancer is poorer among foreign- than US-born Asians. Research on underlying factors is needed, along with increased awareness and targeted cancer control.
PMCID: PMC2853623  PMID: 20299648
6.  High Lifetime Incidence of Adult Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia among Hispanics in California 
The higher incidence of acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) among Hispanic children relative to that in other racial/ethnic groups is well-known. We evaluated incidence patterns of ALL in adults.
We analyzed the incidence patterns of ALL (ICD-03 codes 9835–9837) among all patients diagnosed from 1988–2004 in California using data from the California Cancer Registry to determine whether adult Hispanics also had higher incidence rates of ALL compared to non-Hispanic Whites (Whites). Age-adjusted incidence rates (AAIR), incidence rate ratios (IRR) and 5-year survival rates were obtained using SEER*Stat. AAIRs of other leukemia subtypes and IRRs relative to non-Hispanic whites were also examined as references of ALL.
AAIRs of ALL in Hispanic males and females ages 20–54 years were higher compared to those in White males and females (IRR=1.99,95% CI=1.74–2.28 and IRR=1.91,95% CI=1.60–2.25 respectively). A higher AAIR of ALL was also observed among older (55+ years) Hispanic females (IRR=1.84, 95% CI=1.52–2.21), but not males (IRR= 1.07, 95% CI= 0.84–1.34). Among Hispanics, low socioeconomic status (SES) was associated with a higher AAIR compared to high/middle SES (IRR= 1.33, 95% CI=1.04–1.70). The respective five-year survival rates among ALL patients were 38% and 30% for Whites and Hispanics ages 20–54 years, and 8% and 12% for patients 55 years of age or older. Compared to other racial/ethnic groups, Hispanics did not have an increased IRR of the other major leukemia subtypes.
Hispanics experience a higher incidence of ALL throughout life, but not other subtypes.
PMCID: PMC3191882  PMID: 19208664
7.  Socioeconomic status and prostate cancer incidence and mortality rates among the diverse population of California 
Cancer Causes & Control   2009;20(8):1431-1440.
The racial/ethnic disparities in prostate cancer rates are well documented, with the highest incidence and mortality rates observed among African-Americans followed by non-Hispanic Whites, Hispanics, and Asian/Pacific Islanders. Whether socioeconomic status (SES) can account for these differences in risk has been investigated in previous studies, but with conflicting results. Furthermore, previous studies have focused primarily on the differences between African-Americans and non-Hispanic Whites, and little is known for Hispanics and Asian/Pacific Islanders.
To further investigate the relationship between SES and prostate cancer among African-Americans, non-Hispanic Whites, Hispanics, and Asian/Pacific Islanders, we conducted a large population-based cross-sectional study of 98,484 incident prostate cancer cases and 8,997 prostate cancer deaths from California.
Data were abstracted from the California Cancer Registry, a population-based surveillance, epidemiology, and end results (SEER) registry. Each prostate cancer case and death was assigned a multidimensional neighborhood-SES index using the 2000 US Census data. SES quintile-specific prostate cancer incidence and mortality rates and rate ratios were estimated using SEER*Stat for each race/ethnicity categorized into 10-year age groups.
For prostate cancer incidence, we observed higher levels of SES to be significantly associated with increased risk of disease [SES Q1 vs. Q5: relative risk (RR) = 1.28; 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.25–1.30]. Among younger men (45–64 years), African-Americans had the highest incidence rates followed by non-Hispanic Whites, Hispanics, and Asian/Pacific Islanders for all SES levels. Yet, among older men (75–84 years) Hispanics, following African-Americans, displayed the second highest incidence rates of prostate cancer. For prostate cancer deaths, higher levels of SES were associated with lower mortality rates of prostate cancer deaths (SES Q1 vs. Q5: RR = 0.88; 95% CI: 0.92–0.94). African-Americans had a twofold to fivefold increased risk of prostate cancer deaths in comparison to non-Hispanic Whites across all levels of SES.
Our findings suggest that SES alone cannot account for the greater burden of prostate cancer among African-American men. In addition, incidence and mortality rates of prostate cancer display different age and racial/ethnic patterns across gradients of SES.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s10552-009-9369-0) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC2746891  PMID: 19526319
Prostate cancer; Socioeconomic status; Disparities; Incidence rates; Mortality rates
8.  Smoking prevalence and correlates among Chinese- and Filipino-American adults: Findings from the 2001 California Health Interview Survey 
Preventive medicine  2005;41(2):693-699.
We report prevalence rates and correlates of cigarette smoking among a population-based sample of Chinese- and Filipino-American adults together with rates found in other racial/ethnic groups in California.
All analyses are based on the 2001 California Health Interview Survey.
The proportion of current smokers among males was lowest among Chinese Americans (14%), followed by Non-Hispanic Whites (19%), Hispanics (20%), African Americans (22%), Filipino Americans (24%), American Indians/Alaska Natives (29%), and Pacific Islanders (32%). The proportion of current smokers among females was lowest among Chinese Americans (6%), followed by Hispanics (8%), Filipino Americans (11%), Non-Hispanic Whites (17%), African Americans (20%), Pacific Islander (21%), and American Indians/Alaska Natives (32%). Smoking rates were higher among foreign-born versus U.S.-born Asian males. CHIS data show an opposite effect among Asian women: acculturation to the U.S. is associated with increased smoking prevalence rates. Multivariate analyses with Chinese and Filipino respondents showed that the likelihood of smoking varied among foreign-born versus U.S.-born men (OR 2.59 for Chinese, 1.42 for Filipino, 2.01 for all Asian men combined) and for foreign-born versus U.S.-born women (OR 0.41 for Chinese, 0.38 for Filipino, and 0.59 for all Asian women combined).
Public health intervention efforts should take into account Asian ethnic subgroup, gender, and acculturation status in targeting high-risk smoking groups.
PMCID: PMC1853263  PMID: 15917070
Population-based survey; Smoking; Asian American; Correlates
9.  Socioeconomic Status and Hepatocellular Carcinoma in the United States 
Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) has a poor prognosis and, unlike most cancers, HCC incidence and mortality rates are increasing in the United States. While risk is known to vary among different racial and ethnic groups, less is known about the variability of risk within these groups by neighborhood socioeconomic status (SES).
HCC cases diagnosed in the Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) 11 cancer registries between 1996 and 2007, and the population of the SEER 11 catchment areas was studied. Analyses were conducted to compare census tract area family poverty, educational attainment, and unemployment by race and ethnicity. A multiple linear regression model, weighted by the number of cases and the number of individuals in each census tract, with adjustment for registry, was used to calculate mean differences in area-level attributes between HCC cases and the population.
HCC cases in most racial/ethnic groups had lower mean neighborhood-level measures of SES than their referent population. An exception was seen among Hispanics. Comparing white cases with cases of other racial groups and to Hispanics, white cases lived in neighborhoods with less family poverty, fewer high-school dropouts, and lower unemployment. Compared with white cases, Asian and Pacific Islander and Hispanic cases lived in neighborhoods with a higher percentage of foreign-born population.
Low neighborhood-level SES and immigrant status may be associated with greater risk of HCC within specific racial and ethnic groups.
These findings could help to focus control resources for HCC toward the most affected communities.
PMCID: PMC3647693  PMID: 22669949
10.  Patient, hospital, and neighborhood factors associated with treatment of early-stage breast cancer among Asian American women in California 
Clinical guidelines recommend breast conserving surgery (BCS) with radiation as a viable alternative to mastectomy for treatment of early-stage breast cancer. Yet, Asian Americans (AA) are more likely than other groups to have mastectomy or omit radiation after BCS.
We applied polytomous logistic regression and recursive partitioning (RP) to analyze factors associated with mastectomy, or BCS without radiation, among 20,987 California AAs diagnosed with stage 0–II breast cancer from 1990–2007.
The percentage receiving mastectomy ranged from 40% among US-born Chinese to 58% among foreign-born Vietnamese. Factors associated with mastectomy included tumor characteristics such as larger tumor size, patient characteristics such as older age and foreign birthplace among some AA ethnicities, and additional factors including hospital (smaller hospital size, not NCI cancer center, low socioeconomic status (SES) patient composition, and high hospital AA patient composition) and neighborhood characteristics (ethnic enclaves of low SES). These hospital and neighborhood characteristics were also associated with BCS without radiation. Through RP, the highest mastectomy subgroups were defined by tumor characteristics such as size and anatomic location, in combination with diagnosis year and nativity.
Tumor characteristics and, secondarily, patient, hospital and neighborhood factors, are predictors of mastectomy and omission of radiation following BCS among AAs.
By focusing on interactions among patient, hospital, and neighborhood factors in the differential receipt of breast cancer treatment, our study identifies subgroups of interest for further study, and translation into public health and patient-focused initiatives to ensure that all women are fully informed about treatment options.
PMCID: PMC3406750  PMID: 22402290
11.  “Another Mexican Birthweight Paradox? The Role of Residential Enclaves and Neighborhood Poverty in the Birthweight of Mexican-Origin Infants” 
Examining whether contextual factors influence the birth outcomes of Mexican-origin infants in the US may contribute to assessing rival explanations for the so-called Mexican health paradox. We examined whether birthweight among infants born to Mexican-origin women in the US was associated with Mexican residential enclaves and exposure to neighborhood poverty, and whether these associations were modified by nativity (i.e. mother's place of birth). We calculated metropolitan indices of neighborhood exposure to Mexican-origin population and poverty for the Mexican-origin population, and merged with individual-level, year 2000 Natality Data (n=490,332). We distinguished between neighborhood exposure to US-born Mexican-origin population (i.e. ethnic enclaves) and neighborhood exposure to foreign-born (i.e. Mexico-born) Mexican-origin population (i.e. immigrant enclaves). We used 2-level hierarchical-linear regression models adjusting for individual, metropolitan, and regional covariates and stratified by nativity. We found that living in metropolitan areas with high residential segregation of US-born Mexican-origin residents (i.e. high prevalence of ethnic enclaves) was associated with lower birthweight for infants of US-born Mexican-origin mothers before and after covariate adjustment. When simultaneously adjusting for exposure to ethnic and immigrant enclaves, the latter became positively associated with birthweight and the negative effect of the former increased, among US-born mothers. We found no contextual birthweight associations for mothers born in Mexico in adjusted models. Our findings highlight a differential effect of context by nativity, and the potential health effects of ethnic enclaves, which are possibly a marker of downward assimilation, among US-born Mexican-origin women.
PMCID: PMC2815074  PMID: 19926186
immigrant; immigration; ethnic enclaves; neighborhood residential segregation; Mexican; birthweight; poverty; USA
12.  Cancer Incidence in the Middle Eastern Population of California, 1988–2004 
International statistics suggest lower cancer incidence in the Middle East and Middle Eastern (ME) immigrants in Europe, Australia, and Canada, but little is known from the United States. This study compares cancer rates in ME population with other race/ethnic groups in California from 1988 through 2004. ME cases in California cancer registry were identified by surname and ME population was estimated from U.S. Census data. Cancer rates for ME countries was obtained from Globocan. The ME incidence rate ratios for all sites combined in male and female were 0.77 and 0.82, respectively and were statistically significant. ME rates were significantly lower for cancers of the colon, lung, skin melanoma, female breast and prostate, and were significantly higher for cancers of the stomach, liver, thyroid, leukemia, and male breast. Cancer incidence in ME population in California was 2.4 times higher than rates in home countries. Incidence trends in ME males remained fairly stable but in females shows a slight decline in recent years. Cancer incidence in ME population is lower than non-Hispanic white and non-Hispanic Black, but is higher than rates for Hispanics and Asians, and ME countries. Improved data quality, chronic infections, acculturation, and access to screening services are some of the factors responsible for the observed patterns.
PMCID: PMC2222861  PMID: 18159978
Middle Eastern immigrants; cancer incidence; California; ethnic studies
13.  Papillary thyroid cancer incidence rates vary significantly by birthplace in Asian American women 
Cancer causes & control : CCC  2011;22(3):479-485.
To investigate how birthplace influences the incidence of papillary thyroid cancer among Asian American women.
Birthplace- and ethnic-specific age-adjusted and age-specific incidence rates were calculated using data from the California Cancer Registry for the period 1988–2004. Birthplace was statistically imputed for 30% of cases using a validated imputation method based on age at Social Security number issuance. Population estimates were obtained from the US Census. Incidence rate ratios (IRR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were estimated for foreign-born vs. US-born women.
Age-adjusted incidence rates of papillary thyroid cancer among Filipina (13.7 per 100,000) and Vietnamese (12.7) women were more than double those of Japanese women (6.2). US-born Chinese (IRR=0.48, 95% CI: 0.40–0.59) and Filipina women (IRR=0.74, 95% CI: 0.58–0.96) had significantly higher rates than those who were foreign-born; the opposite was observed for Japanese women (IRR=1.55, 95% CI: 1.17–2.08). The age-specific patterns among all foreign-born Asian women and US-born Japanese women showed a slow steady increase in incidence until age 70. However, among US-born Asian women (except Japanese), substantially elevated incidence rates during the reproductive and menopausal years were evident.
Ethnic- and birthplace-variation in papillary thyroid cancer incidence can provide insight into the etiology of this increasingly common and understudied cancer.
PMCID: PMC3291661  PMID: 21207130
papillary thyroid cancer; incidence rates; birthplace; Asian American women; cancer surveillance
14.  Are Immigrant Enclaves Healthy Places to Live? The Multi-ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis 
Social science & medicine (1982)  2009;69(1):110-120.
The growing size and changing composition of the foreign born population in the USA highlights the importance of examining the health consequences of living in neighborhoods with higher proportions of immigrants. Using data from the Multiethnic Study of Atherosclerosis in four US cities, we examined whether neighborhood immigrant composition was associated with health behaviors (diet, physical activity) among Hispanic and Chinese Americans (n=1902). Secondarily we tested whether neighborhoods with high proportions of immigrants exhibited better or worse neighborhood quality, and whether these dimensions of neighborhood quality were associated with healthy behaviors. Neighborhood immigrant composition was defined based on the Census 2000 tract percent of foreign-born from Latin-America, and separately, percent foreign-born from China. After adjustment for age, gender, income, education, neighborhood poverty, and acculturation, living in a tract with a higher proportion of immigrants was associated with lower consumption of high-fat foods among Hispanics and Chinese, but with being less physically active among Hispanics. Residents in neighborhoods with higher proportions of immigrants reported better healthy food availability, but also worse walkability, fewer recreational exercise resources, worse safety, lower social cohesion, and lower neighborhood-based civic engagement. Associations of neighborhood immigrant composition with diet persisted after adjustment for reported neighborhood characteristics, and associations with physical activity were attenuated. Respondent-reported neighborhood healthy food availability, walkability, availability of exercise facilities and civic participation remained associated with behaviors after adjusting for immigrant composition and other covariates. Results show that living in an immigrant enclave is not monolithically beneficial and may have different associations with different health behaviors.
PMCID: PMC2750873  PMID: 19427731
health inequalities; neighborhood; immigrants; health behaviors; USA; Hispanic Americans; Chinese Americans
15.  Demographic risk factors for injury among Hispanic and non-Hispanic white children: an ecologic analysis 
Injury Prevention  1998;4(1):33-38.
Objectives—To determine the effects of neighborhood levels of poverty, household crowding, and acculturation on the rate of injury to Hispanic and non-Hispanic white children.
Setting—Orange County, California.
Methods—An ecologic study design was used with census block groups as the unit of analysis. Measures of neighborhood poverty, household crowding, and acculturation were specific to each ethnic group. Poisson regression was used to calculate mutually adjusted incidence rate ratios (IRRs) corresponding to a 20% difference in census variables.
Results—Among non-Hispanic white children, injury rates were more closely associated with neighborhood levels of household crowding (adjusted IRR 2.36, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.22 to 4.57) than with neighborhood poverty (adjusted IRR 1.06, 95% CI 0.89 to 1.26). For Hispanic children, the strongest risk factors were the proportion of Hispanic adults who spoke only some English (compared with the proportion who spoke little or no English, adjusted IRR 1.26, 95% CI 1.04 to 1.53) and the proportion who were US residents for <5 years (adjusted IRR 1.20, 95% CI 1.001 to 1.43). Neighborhood levels of household crowding were not related to injury among Hispanic children (adjusted IRR 0.98, 95% CI 0.89 to 1.08), but surprisingly, neighborhood poverty was associated with lower injury rates (adjusted IRR 0.89, 95% CI 0.81 to 0.97).
Conclusions—Cultural and geographic transitions, as well as socioeconomic differences, appear to contribute to differences in childhood injury rates between ethnic groups.
PMCID: PMC1730333  PMID: 9595329
16.  Nativity and papillary thyroid cancer incidence rates among Hispanic women in California 
Cancer  2011;118(1):216-222.
Overall, the incidence of papillary thyroid cancer in Hispanic women residing in the United States (US) is similar to that of non-Hispanic white women. However, little is known as to whether rates in Hispanic women vary by nativity, which may influence exposure to important risk factors.
Nativity-specific incidence rates among Hispanic women were calculated for papillary thyroid cancer using data from the California Cancer Registry (CCR) for the period 1988–2004. For the 35% of cases for whom birthplace information was not available from the CCR, nativity was statistically imputed based on age at Social Security number issuance. Population estimates were extracted based on US Census data. Incidence rate ratios (IRR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were also estimated.
In young (age <55 years) Hispanic women, the incidence of papillary thyroid cancer among US-born (10.65 per 100,000) was significantly greater than that for foreign-born (6.67 per 100,000; IRR=1.60, 95% CI: 1.44–1.77). The opposite pattern was observed in older women. The age-specific patterns showed marked differences by nativity: among foreign-born, rates increased slowly until age 70 years, whereas, among US-born, incidence rates peaked during the reproductive years. Incidence rates increased over the study period in all subgroups.
Incidence rates of papillary thyroid cancer vary by nativity and age among Hispanic women residing in California. These patterns can provide insight for future etiologic investigations of modifiable risk factors for this increasingly common and understudied cancer.
PMCID: PMC3179782  PMID: 21692062
papillary thyroid cancer; incidence rates; nativity; Hispanic women; cancer surveillance
17.  Association of acculturation and country of origin with self-reported hypertension and diabetes in a heterogeneous Hispanic population 
BMC Public Health  2012;12:768.
Hispanics are the fasting growing population in the U.S. and disproportionately suffer from chronic diseases such as hypertension and diabetes. Little is known about the complex interplay between acculturation and chronic disease prevalence in the growing and increasingly diverse Hispanic population. We explored the association between diabetes and hypertension prevalence among distinct U.S. Hispanic subgroups by country of origin and by degree of acculturation.
We examined the adult participants in the 2001, 2003, 2005, and 2007 California Health Interview Survey (CHIS). Using weighted logistic regression stratified by nativity, we measured the association between country of origin and self-reported hypertension and diabetes adjusting for participants’ demographics, insurance status, socio-economic status and degree of acculturation measured by citizenship, English language proficiency and the number of years of residence in the U.S.
There were 33,633 self-identified Hispanics (foreign-born: 19,988; U.S.-born: 13,645). After multivariable adjustment, we found significant heterogeneity in self-reported hypertension and diabetes prevalence among Hispanic subgroups. Increasing years of U.S. residence was associated with increased disease prevalence. Among all foreign-born subgroups, only Mexicans reported lower odds of hypertension after adjustment for socioeconomic and acculturation factors. Both U.S.-born and foreign-born Mexicans had higher rates of diabetes as compared to non-Hispanic whites.
We found significant heterogeneity among Hispanics in self-reported rates of hypertension and diabetes by acculturation and country of origin. Our findings highlight the importance of disaggregation of Hispanics by country of origin and acculturation factors whenever possible.
PMCID: PMC3490899  PMID: 22966844
Acculturation; Ethnicity; Hypertension; Diabetes; Hispanic
18.  Does socioeconomic disparity in cancer incidence vary across racial/ethnic groups? 
Cancer Causes & Control  2010;21(10):1721-1730.
Very few studies have simultaneously examined incidence of the leading cancers in relation to socioeconomic status (SES) and race/ethnicity in populations including Hispanics and Asians. This study aims to describe SES disparity in cancer incidence within each of four major racial/ethnic groups (non-Hispanic white, black, Hispanic, and Asian/Pacific Islander) for five major cancer sites, including female breast cancer, colorectal cancer, cervical cancer, lung cancer, and prostate cancer.
Invasive cancers of the five major sites diagnosed from 1998 to 2002 (n = 376,158) in California were included in the study. Composite area-based SES measures were used to quantify SES level and to calculate cancer incidence rates stratified by SES. Relative index of inequality (RII) was generated to measure SES gradient of cancer incidence within each racial/ethnic group.
Significant variations were detected in SES disparities across the racial/ethnic groups for all five major cancer sites. Female breast cancer and prostate cancer incidence increased with increased SES in all groups, with the trend strongest among Hispanics. Incidence of cervical cancer increased with decreased SES, with the largest gradient among non-Hispanic white women. Lung cancer incidence increased with decreased SES with the exception of Hispanic men and women, for whom SES gradient was in the opposite direction. For colorectal cancer, higher incidence was associated with lower SES in non-Hispanic whites but with higher SES in Hispanics and Asian/Pacific Islander women.
Examining SES disparity stratified by race/ethnicity enhances our understanding of the complex relationships between cancer incidence, SES, and race/ethnicity.
PMCID: PMC2941051  PMID: 20567897
Cancer incidence; Socioeconomic status; Disparity; Race/ethnicity
19.  The expanding melanoma burden in California Hispanics: Importance of socioeconomic distribution, histologic subtype and anatomic location 
Cancer  2010;117(1):152-161.
The incidence patterns and socioeconomic distribution of cutaneous melanoma among Hispanics are poorly understood.
We obtained population-based incidence data for all Hispanic and Non-Hispanic White (NHW) patients diagnosed with invasive cutaneous melanoma from 1988-2007 in the state of California. Using a neighborhood-level measure of socioeconomic status (SES), we investigated incidence, thickness at diagnosis, histologic subtype, and anatomic site and the relative risk (RR) for thicker (>2mm) versus thinner (≤2mm) tumors at diagnosis for groups categorized by SES.
Age-adjusted melanoma incidence rates per million were higher in NHWs (P <.0001); tumor thickness at diagnosis was greater in Hispanics (P <.0001). Sixty-one percent of melanomas in NHWs occurred in the High SES group. Among Hispanics, only 35% occurred in the High SES group; 22% were of Low SES. Lower SES was associated with thicker tumors (P <.0001); this association was stronger in Hispanics. The relative risk (RR) for thicker versus thinner (≤2mm) tumors in Low-SES versus High-SES NHW men was 1.48 (95% CI, 1.37-1.61); it was 2.18 (95% CI, 1.73-2.74) in Hispanic men. Lower-SES patients had less superficial spreading melanoma subtype (especially among Hispanic men) and more nodular melanoma subtype. Leg/hip melanomas were associated with higher SES in NHW males but with lower SES in Hispanic males.
The socioeconomic distribution of melanoma incidence and tumor thickness differed substantially between Hispanic and NHW Californians, particularly among males. Melanoma prevention efforts targeted to lower-SES Hispanics and increased physician awareness of melanoma patterns among Hispanics are needed.
PMCID: PMC3000884  PMID: 20737564
Melanoma; social class; tumor thickness; Hispanic Americans; race; ethnicity
20.  Hidden Breast Cancer Disparities in Asian Women: Disaggregating Incidence Rates by Ethnicity and Migrant Status 
American journal of public health  2010;100(Suppl 1):S125-S131.
We estimated trends in breast cancer incidence rates for specific Asian populations in California to determine if disparities exist by immigrant status and age.
To calculate rates by ethnicity and immigrant status, we obtained data for 1998 through 2004 cancer diagnoses from the California Cancer Registry and imputed immigrant status from Social Security Numbers for the 26% of cases with missing birthplace information. Population estimates were obtained from the 1990 and 2000 US Censuses.
Breast cancer rates were higher among US- than among foreign-born Chinese (incidence rate ratio [IRR] = 1.84; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.72, 1.96) and Filipina women (IRR = 1.32; 95% CI=1.20, 1.44), but similar between US- and foreign-born Japanese women. US-born Chinese and Filipina women who were younger than 55 years had higher rates than did White women of the same age. Rates increased over time in most groups, as high as 4% per year among foreign-born Korean and US-born Filipina women. From 2000–2004, the rate among US-born Filipina women exceeded that of White women.
These findings challenge the notion that breast cancer rates are uniformly low across Asians and therefore suggest a need for increased awareness, targeted cancer control, and research to better understand underlying factors.
PMCID: PMC2837454  PMID: 20147696
21.  Cancer incidence in the south Asian population of California, 1988–2000 
Although South Asians (SA) form a large majority of the Asian population of U.S., very little is known about cancer in this immigrant population. SAs comprise people having origins mainly in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. We calculated age-adjusted incidence and time trends of cancer in the SA population of California (state with the largest concentration of SAs) between 1988–2000 and compared these rates to rates in native Asian Indians as well as to those experienced by the Asian/Pacific Islander (API) and White, non-Hispanic population (NHW) population of California.
Age adjusted incidence rates observed among the SA population of California during the time period 1988–2000 were calculated. To correctly identify the ethnicity of cancer cases, 'Nam Pehchan' (British developed software) was used to identify numerator cases of SA origin from the population-based cancer registry in California (CCR). Denominators were obtained from the U.S. Census Bureau. Incidence rates in SAs were calculated and a time trend analysis was also performed. Comparison data on the API and the NHW population of California were also obtained from CCR and rates from Globocan 2002 were used to determine rates in India.
Between 1988–2000, 5192 cancers were diagnosed in SAs of California.
Compared to rates in native Asian Indians, rates of cancer in SAs in California were higher for all sites except oropharyngeal, oesophageal and cervical cancers. Compared to APIs of California, SA population experienced more cancers of oesophagus, gall bladder, prostate, breast, ovary and uterus, as well as lymphomas, leukemias and multiple myelomas. Compared to NHW population of California, SAs experienced more cancers of the stomach, liver and bile duct, gall bladder, cervix and multiple myelomas. Significantly increasing time trends were observed in colon and breast cancer incidence.
SA population of California experiences unique patterns of cancer incidence most likely associated with acculturation, screening and tobacco habits. There is need for early diagnosis of leading cancers in SA. If necessary steps are not taken to curb the growth of breast, colon and lung cancer, rates in SA will soon approximate those of the NHW population of California.
PMCID: PMC1315316  PMID: 16283945
22.  Prostate Cancer Risk Profiles in Asian Americans: Disentangling the Effects of Immigration Status and Race/Ethnicity 
The Journal of urology  2013;191(4):952-956.
Asian-American men with prostate cancer have been reported to present with higher grade and later stage disease than White Americans. However, Asian Americans comprise a heterogeneous population with distinct health outcomes. We compared prostate cancer risk profiles among the diverse racial and ethnic groups in California.
Materials and Methods
We used data from the California Cancer Registry for 90,845 Non-Hispanic White, Non-Hispanic Black, and Asian-American men diagnosed with prostate cancer between 2004 and 2010. Patients were categorized into low, intermediate, or high-risk groups based on clinical stage, Gleason score, and PSA value at diagnosis. Using polytomous logistic regression, we estimated adjusted odds ratios for the association of race/ethnicity and nativity with risk group.
In addition to Non-Hispanic Blacks, six Asian-American groups (US-born Chinese, foreign-born Chinese, US-born Japanese, foreign-born Japanese, foreign-born Filipino, and foreign-born Vietnamese) were more likely to have an unfavorable risk profile compared to Non-Hispanic Whites. The odds ratios for high vs. intermediate-risk disease ranged from 1.23 (95% CI, 1.02–1.49) for US-born Japanese to 1.45 (95% CI, 1.31–1.60) for foreign-born Filipinos. These associations appeared to be driven by higher grade and PSA values, rather than advanced clinical stage at diagnosis.
In this large, ethnically diverse population-based cohort, we found that Asian-American men were more likely to have unfavorable risk profiles at diagnosis. This association varied by racial/ethnic group and nativity, and was not attributable to later stage at diagnosis, suggesting that Asian men may have biological differences that predispose to the development of more severe disease.
PMCID: PMC4051432  PMID: 24513166
Asian Americans; prostatic neoplasms; epidemiology; SEER Program
The Journal of urology  2008;179(5):1704-1708.
To use a population-based cancer registry to examine trends in renal cell carcinoma (RCC) incidence and survival among four racial/ethnic groups (White, Black, Hispanic, and Asian/Pacific Islander (A/PI)) and both genders.
Materials and Methods
Race/ethnicity, gender, age, staging, length of survival, and cause of death data were analyzed using 39,434 cases of RCC from 1988 to 2004 from the California Cancer Registry. Annual age-adjusted incidence rates and relative survival rates were calculated for the racial/ethnic and gender groups. These rates and the percent of localized cancer were plotted by year, and Microsoft Excel® was used to calculate linear regression equations. Median age was also calculated. Z-tests and X2-tests were performed to determine p-values.
A rise in RCC incidence was found, with localized cancer accounting for most of the increase. Blacks had a significantly higher incidence rate (p<0.0001) and lower survival rate (p<0.0001) than all other races/ethnicities, despite having more localized cancer (p<0.005). Blacks were also diagnosed at a younger age (p<0.0001) than their counterparts. On the other hand, A/PI’s had a lower incidence rate (p<0.0001) and higher survival rate (p<0.05) than all other races/ethnicities. Males had approximately twice the incidence rate of females and a lower survival rate (p<0.005).
Higher incidence rates and lower survival rates were identified among Blacks and males when compared to their counterparts, while A/PI’s showed the opposite trends. Such racial/ethnic and gender disparities in RCC incidence and survival may help elucidate biological, behavioral, and environmental factors that can potentially be addressed.
PMCID: PMC2677163  PMID: 18343443
Renal cancer; Race; Gender; Incidence; Survival rate
24.  Associations of Census-Tract Poverty with Subsite-Specific Colorectal Cancer Incidence Rates and Stage of Disease at Diagnosis in the United States 
Journal of Cancer Epidemiology  2014;2014:823484.
Background. It remains unclear whether neighborhood poverty contributes to differences in subsite-specific colorectal cancer (CRC) incidence. We examined associations between census-tract poverty and CRC incidence and stage by anatomic subsite and race/ethnicity. Methods. CRC cases diagnosed between 2005 and 2009 from 15 states and Los Angeles County (N = 278,097) were assigned to 1 of 4 groups based on census-tract poverty. Age-adjusted and stage-specific CRC incidence rates (IRs) and incidence rate ratios (IRRs) were calculated. Analyses were stratified by subsite (proximal, distal, and rectum), sex, race/ethnicity, and poverty. Results. Compared to the lowest poverty areas, CRC IRs were significantly higher in the most impoverished areas for men (IRR = 1.14 95% CI 1.12–1.17) and women (IRR = 1.06 95% CI 1.05–1.08). Rate differences between high and low poverty were strongest for distal colon (male IRR = 1.24 95% CI 1.20–1.28; female IRR = 1.14 95% CI 1.10–1.18) and weakest for proximal colon. These rate differences were significant for non-Hispanic whites and blacks and for Asian/Pacific Islander men. Inverse associations between poverty and IRs of all CRC and proximal colon were found for Hispanics. Late-to-early stage CRC IRRs increased monotonically with increasing poverty for all race/ethnicity groups. Conclusion. There are differences in subsite-specific CRC incidence by poverty, but associations were moderated by race/ethnicity.
PMCID: PMC4137551  PMID: 25165475
25.  Stroke incidence in older US Hispanics: is foreign birth protective? 
Stroke; a journal of cerebral circulation  2012;43(5):10.1161/STROKEAHA.111.643700.
Although Hispanics are the fastest growing ethnic group in the United States (US), relatively little is known about stroke risk in US Hispanics. We compare stroke incidence and socioeconomic predictors in US- and foreign-born Hispanics to patterns among non-Hispanic whites.
Health and Retirement Study participants aged 50+ free of stroke in 1998 (mean baseline age 66.3 years) were followed through 2008 for self- or proxy-reported first stroke (n=15,784; 1,388 events). We used discrete-time survival analysis to compare stroke incidence among US-born (including those who immigrated before age 7) and foreign-born Hispanics to incidence in non-Hispanic whites. We also examined childhood and adult socioeconomic characteristics as predictors of stroke among Hispanics, comparing effect estimates to those for non-Hispanic whites.
In age- and sex-adjusted models, US-born Hispanics had higher odds of stroke onset than non-Hispanic whites (OR=1.44, 95% CI: 1.08, 1.90), but these differences were attenuated and non-significant in models that controlled for childhood and adulthood socioeconomic factors (OR=1.07; 95% CI: 0.80, 1.42). In contrast, in models adjusted for all demographic and socioeconomic factors, foreign-born Hispanics had significantly lower stroke risk than non-Hispanic whites (OR=0.58, 95% CI: 0.41, 0.81). The impact of socioeconomic predictors on stroke did not differ between Hispanics and whites.
In this longitudinal national cohort, foreign-born Hispanics had lower incidence of stroke incidence than non-Hispanic whites and US-born Hispanics. Findings suggest that foreign-born Hispanics may have a risk factor profile that protects them from stroke as compared to other Americans.
PMCID: PMC3838631  PMID: 22357712
stroke incidence; cardiovascular disease; social disparities; socioeconomic status; Hispanics; immigrants

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