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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.  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
3.  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
4.  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
5.  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
6.  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
7.  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
8.  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
9.  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
10.  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
11.  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
12.  Interview Language: A Proxy Measure for Acculturation Among Asian Americans in a Population-Based Survey 
We examined health status and access to care among Asian Americans by the following acculturation indicators: nativity, percent lifetime in the US, self-rated English proficiency, and interview language, to assess whether any measure better distinguishes acculturation. Data from the 2003 California Health Interview Survey were used to study the sample of 4,170 US-born and foreign-born Asians by acculturation indicators. We performed t-tests to compare differences in demographics, health status and behaviors, and access to care between the foreign-born and US-born Asians, and between various classifications within foreign-born and the US-born Asian group. Our results showed that foreign-born Asians who interviewed in English more closely resembled US-born Asians than foreign-born Asians who interviewed in languages other than English. Compared to interview language, dichotomizing the sample by other acculturation indicators showed smaller differences between the divided groups. Interview language may serve as a better measure for acculturation especially among foreign-born populations with a high proportion of limited English proficiency. In immigrant public health research studies, interview language may be used as an important covariate for health disparities.
PMCID: PMC3056132  PMID: 19639411
Acculturation; Nativity; Asian American
13.  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
14.  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
15.  Explaining low mortality among US immigrants relative to native-born Americans: the role of smoking 
Background In many developed countries, immigrants live longer—that is, have lower death rates at most or all ages—than native-born residents. This article tests whether different levels of smoking-related mortality can explain part of the ‘healthy immigrant effect’ in the USA, as well as part of the related ‘Hispanic paradox’: the tendency for US Hispanics to outlive non-Hispanic Whites.
Methods With data from vital statistics and the national census, we calculate lung cancer death rates in 2000 for four US subpopulations: foreign-born, native-born, Hispanic and non-Hispanic White. We then use three different methods—the Peto–Lopez method, the Preston–Glei–Wilmoth method and a novel method developed in this article—to generate three alternative estimates of smoking-related mortality for each of the four subpopulations, extrapolating from lung cancer death rates. We then measure the contribution of smoking-related mortality to disparities in all-cause mortality.
Results Taking estimates from any of the three methods, we find that smoking explains >50% of the difference in life expectancy at 50 years between foreign- and native-born men, and >70% of the difference between foreign- and native-born women; smoking explains >75% of the difference in life expectancy at 50 years between US Hispanic and non-Hispanic White men, and close to 75% of the Hispanic advantage among women.
Conclusions Low smoking-related mortality was the main reason for immigrants’ and Hispanics’ longevity advantage in the USA in 2000.
PMCID: PMC3147070  PMID: 21324939
Health status disparities; minority health; smoking; lung neoplasms; mortality; statistics as topic
The current study was conducted to ascertain the validity of two commonly used markers of acculturation (nativity and years in the receiving culture) in an enclave context. Relationships between these markers and a bidimensional measure of acculturation were examined in a convenience sample of Hispanic immigrant adolescents and their caregivers in Miami. Nativity was examined using adolescent-reported data; approximately half of the youth were U.S.-born and half foreign-born, but all of the caregivers were foreign-born. Years in the receiving culture was examined using both adolescent and caregiver data. Results indicated that nativity was significantly associated with adoption of receiving-culture practices, with a small to moderate effect size. Years in the receiving culture was significantly associated with adoption of receiving-culture practices only for adolescent girls and for female caregivers who immigrated as youth. Neither nativity nor years in the receiving culture explained even moderate amounts of variance in retention or loss of culture-of-origin practices.
PMCID: PMC1482727  PMID: 16799700
acculturation; ethnic enclaves; nativity; immigrant; Hispanic
17.  Problem Drinking Among Mexican-Americans: The Influence of Nativity and Neighborhood Context? 
American journal of health promotion : AJHP  2012;26(4):10.4278/ajhp.100510-QUAN-146.
We examined the influence of nativity and community context (Hispanic neighborhood concentration) on two measures of problem drinking among Mexican-Americans.
Cross-sectional study
Texas City Stress and Health Study conducted in Texas City, Texas during 2004–2006.
A total of 1435 Mexican-Americans aged 25 years and older.
Binge drinking (≥ 6 drinks per occasion by men and ≥ 4 drinks per occasion by women) and scoring positive on the CAGE (a four-item clinical measure of problem drinking) as dependent variables. Key independent variables included a measure of language acculturation, proportion of Hispanics in the participant's neighborhood according to 2000 U.S. Census data, and being foreign-born compared with being U.S.-born.
Logistic regression analysis was used to predict being a binge drinker and being positive on the CAGE.
Foreign-born women were less likely to be binge drinkers than U.S.-born women. Nativity was not significant among men. Moreover women were less likely to be binge drinkers if they lived in heavily Hispanic neighborhoods. No such effect was found among men. Similar results were obtained with the CAGE.
We found a powerful influence of nativity (being U.S.-born compared with foreign born) and neighborhood Hispanic concentration on problem drinking among women but not among men. It is likely that cultural norms in heavily Hispanic environments discourage problem drinking among women but not among men.
PMCID: PMC3856664  PMID: 22375572
Problem Drinking; Neighborhoods; Mexican-Americans; Manuscript format: research; Research purpose: modeling/relationship testing; Study design: survey research; Outcome measure: behavioral; Setting: Texas state; Health focus: alcohol consumption, problem drinking; Strategy: culture change; Target population age: adults, seniors; Target population circumstances: all education levels, all income levels, Texas City, Texas, Hispanic population
18.  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
19.  The California Neighborhoods Data System: a new resource for examining the impact of neighborhood characteristics on cancer incidence and outcomes in populations 
Cancer causes & control : CCC  2011;22(4):631-647.
Research on neighborhoods and health has been growing. However, studies have not investigated the association of specific neighborhood measures, including socioeconomic and built environments, with cancer incidence or outcomes. We developed the California Neighborhoods Data System (CNDS), an integrated system of small area-level measures of socioeconomic and built environments for California, which can be readily linked to individual-level geocoded records. The CNDS includes measures such as socioeconomic status, population density, racial residential segregation, ethnic enclaves, distance to hospitals, walkable destinations, and street connectivity. Linking the CNDS to geocoded cancer patient information from the California Cancer Registry, we demonstrate the variability of CNDS measures by neighborhood socioeconomic status and predominant race/ethnicity for the 7,049 California census tracts, as well as by patient race/ethnicity. The CNDS represents an efficient and cost-effective resource for cancer epidemiology and control. It expands our ability to understand the role of neighborhoods with regard to cancer incidence and outcomes. Used in conjunction with cancer registry data, these additional contextual measures enable the type of transdisciplinary, “cells-to-society” research that is now being recognized as necessary for addressing population disparities in cancer incidence and outcomes.
PMCID: PMC3102646  PMID: 21318584
Neighborhood; Socioeconomic environment; Built environment; Immigration; Contextual factors; GIS
20.  Quality of Cancer Care among Foreign-Born and US-Born Patients with Lung or Colorectal Cancer 
Cancer  2010;116(23):5497-5506.
Disparities in care have been documented for foreign-born cancer patients in the US. However, limited data are available on lung and colorectal cancer. We assessed whether patient-reported quality and receipt of recommended care differed between US-born and foreign-born cancer patients.
We collected surveys and medical records for a population-based cohort including white, Hispanic, and Asian adults (2,205 US-born and 890 foreign-born) with lung or colorectal cancer diagnosed in California during 2003–2005. We used logistic regression to assess the association of nativity with patient-reported quality of care and receipt of recommended treatments (adjuvant chemotherapy for stage III colon cancer, adjuvant chemotherapy and radiation for stage II/III rectal cancer, and curative surgery for stage I/II non-small cell lung cancer). We also assessed whether language explained any differences in care by nativity.
Overall, 46% of patients reported excellent care, but foreign-born patients were less likely than US-born patients to report excellent quality of care (adjusted odds ratio (AOR)=0.80, 95% confidence interval [CI]=0.65–1.00), a difference partly explained by language of survey, an indicator of English proficiency. Rates of recommended therapies ranged from 64% to 85%; foreign-born patients were less likely to receive chemotherapy and radiation for stage II/III rectal cancer (AOR=0.35, 95% CI=0.12–0.99). Rates of other treatments did not differ significantly by nativity.
Foreign-born cancer patients reported lower quality of care and were less likely to receive some cancer therapies than US-born. Better coordination of care and communication about cancer treatments and expanded use of interpreters may lessen these disparities.
PMCID: PMC2974942  PMID: 20672356
lung cancer; colorectal cancer; recommended care; immigrants; satisfaction; quality; disparities; race/ethnicity; Hispanic; Asian
21.  The burden of liver cancer in Asians and Pacific Islanders in the Greater San Francisco Bay Area, 1990 through 2004 
Cancer  2007;109(10):2100-2108.
No previous U.S. study has examined time trends in the incidence rate of liver cancer in the high-risk Asian/Pacific Islander population. We evaluated liver cancer incidence trends in Chinese, Filipino, Japanese, Korean, and Vietnamese males and females in the Greater San Francisco Bay Area of California between 1990 and 2004.
Populations at risk were estimated using the cohort component demographic method. Annual percentage changes (APCs) in age-adjusted incidence rates of primary liver cancer among Asians/Pacific Islanders in the Greater Bay Area Cancer Registry were calculated using joinpoint regression analysis.
The incidence rate of liver cancer between 1990 and 2004 did not change significantly in Asian/Pacific Islander males or females overall. However, the incidence rate declined, albeit statistically non-significantly, in Chinese males (APC =−1.6% [95% confidence interval (CI) =−3.4%, 0.3%], Japanese males (APC = −4.9%, 95% CI =−10.7%, 1.2%), and Japanese females (APC =−3.6%, 95% CI =−8.9%, 2.0%). Incidence rates remained consistently high for Vietnamese, Korean, and Filipino males and females. Trends in the incidence rate of hepatocellular carcinoma were comparable to those for liver cancer. While disparities in liver cancer incidence between Asians/Pacific Islanders and other racial/ethnic groups diminished between 1990–1994 and 2000–2004, those among Asian subgroups increased.
Liver cancer continues to affect Asian/Pacific Islander Americans disproportionately, with consistently high incidence rates in most subgroups. Culturally targeted prevention methods are needed to reduce the high rates of liver cancer in this growing population in the U.S.
PMCID: PMC2777532  PMID: 17385214
Asian Americans; epidemiology; hepatocellular carcinoma; liver cancer; surveillance
22.  The Residential Segregation of Mixed-Nativity Married Couples 
Demography  2010;47(4):869-893.
This article examines the ways in which mixed-nativity marriage is related to spatial assimilation in metropolitan areas of the United States. Specifically, we examine the residential patterns of households with a mixed-nativity—and, in some cases, interracial—marriage to determine whether they are less segregated from the native-born than entirely foreign-born households. Using restricted-use data from the 2000 census, we find that compared with couples in which both spouses are foreign-born, mixed-nativity couples tend to be less segregated from various native-born racial and ethnic groups. Further, among both foreign-born Asians and Hispanics, those with a native-born non-Hispanic white spouse are considerably less segregated from native-born white households than from other foreign-born Asian and Hispanic households. We also find that even though nativity status matters for black couples in a manner consistent with assimilation theory, foreign-born and mixed-nativity black households still each display very high levels of segregation from all other native-born racial/ethnic groups, reaffirming the power of race in determining residential patterns. Overall, our findings provide moderate support for spatial assimilation theory and suggest that cross-nativity marriages often facilitate the residential integration of the foreign-born.
PMCID: PMC3000034  PMID: 21308562
23.  Self-Rated Health Among Adult Women of Mexican Origin 
Self-rated health (SRH), a consistent predictor of mortality among diverse populations, is sensitive to health indicators and social factors. American-born Hispanics report better SRH than their foreign-born counterparts but simultaneously report poorer health indicators and have shorter life expectancy. Using a matched prospective cross-sectional design, we analyzed data from 631 age-matched pairs of women, born in the United States or Mexico, enrolled in a cohort study based in Houston, Texas. Our first goal was to describe the relationships between SRH and health behaviors, physician-diagnosed chronic conditions, acculturation, and socioeconomic status (SES) by birthplace. Our second goal was to investigate the relative influence of SES, acculturation, health behaviors, and physician-diagnosed conditions in explaining expected differences in SRH between the two groups. Number of chronic conditions reported, particularly depression, more strongly influenced SRH than SES, acculturation, or reported health risk behaviors and the influence of birthplace is accounted for by these factors.
PMCID: PMC3940416  PMID: 24600161
Self-rated health; acculturation; SES; health indicators
24.  Focus On: Ethnicity and the Social and Health Harms From Drinking 
Alcohol consumption is differentially associated with social and health harms across U.S. ethnic groups. Native Americans, Hispanics, and Blacks are disadvantaged by alcohol-attributed harms compared with Whites and Asians. Ethnicities with higher rates of risky drinking experience higher rates of drinking harms. Other factors that could contribute to the different effects of alcohol by ethnicity are social disadvantage, acculturation, drink preferences, and alcohol metabolism. This article examines the relationship of ethnicity and drinking to (1) unintentional injuries, (2) intentional injuries, (3) fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS), (4) gastrointestinal diseases, (5) cardiovascular diseases, (6) cancers, (7) diabetes, and (8) infectious diseases. Reviewed evidence shows that Native Americans have a disproportionate risk for alcohol-related motor vehicle fatalities, suicides and violence, FAS, and liver disease mortality. Hispanics are at increased risk for alcohol-related motor vehicle fatalities, suicide, liver disease, and cirrhosis mortality; and Blacks have increased risk for alcohol-related relationship violence, FAS, heart disease, and some cancers. However, the scientific evidence is incomplete for each of these harms. More research is needed on the relationship of alcohol consumption to cancers, diabetes, and HIV/AIDS across ethnic groups. Studies also are needed to delineate the mechanisms that give rise to and sustain these disparities in order to inform prevention strategies.
PMCID: PMC3908714
Alcohol consumption; alcohol-attributable fractions; alcohol burden; harmful drinking; alcohol and other drug; induced risk; risk factors; ethnicity; ethnic groups; racial groups; cultural patterns of drinking; Native Americans; Hispanics; Blacks; African Americans; Asian Americans; Whites; Caucasians; injury; intentional injury; unintentional injury; fetal alcohol syndrome; gastrointestinal diseases; cardiovascular diseases; cancers; diabetes; infectious diseases
25.  Incidence of first primary central nervous system tumors in California, 2001–2005 
Journal of Neuro-Oncology  2009;94(2):249-261.
We examined the incidence of first primary central nervous system tumors (PCNST) in California from 2001–2005. This study period represents the first five years of data collection of benign PCNST by the California Cancer Registry. California’s age-adjusted incidence rates (AAIR) for malignant and benign PCNST (5.5 and 8.5 per 100,000, respectively). Malignant PCNST were highest among non-Hispanic white males (7.8 per 100,000). Benign PCNST were highest among African American females (10.5 per 100,000). Hispanics, those with the lowest socioeconomic status, and those who lived in rural California were found to be significantly younger at diagnosis. Glioblastoma was the most frequent malignant histology, while meningioma had the highest incidence among benign histologies (2.6 and 4.5 per 100,000, respectively). This study is the first in the US to compare malignant to benign PCNST using a population-based data source. It illustrates the importance of PCNST surveillance in California and in diverse communities.
PMCID: PMC2724635  PMID: 19340398
Brain and other central nervous system neoplasms; Epidemiology; Cancer incidence; Ethnic groups; Health disparities

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