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1.  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
2.  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
3.  Cancer Incidence Trends Among Asian American Populations in the United States, 1990–2008 
National cancer incidence trends are presented for eight Asian American groups: Asian Indians/Pakistanis, Chinese, Filipinos, Japanese, Kampucheans, Koreans, Laotians, and Vietnamese.
Cancer incidence data from 1990 through 2008 were obtained from 13 Surveillance, Epidemiology, End Results (SEER) registries. Incidence rates from 1990 through 2008 and average percentage change were computed using SEER*Stat and Joinpoint software. The annual percentage change (APC) in incidence rates was estimated with 95% confidence intervals (95% CIs) calculated for both the rate and APC estimates. Rates for non-Hispanic whites are presented for comparison.
Prostate cancer was the most common malignancy among most groups, followed by lung, colorectal, liver, and stomach cancers. Breast cancer was generally the most common cancer in women, followed by colorectal and lung cancers; liver, cervix, thyroid, and stomach cancers also ranked highly. Among men, increasing trends were observed for prostate (Asian Indians and Pakistanis: APC 1990–2003 = 2.2, 95% CI = 0.3 to 4.1; Filipinos: APC 1990–1994 = 19.0, 95% CI = 4.5 to 35.4; Koreans: APC 1990–2008 = 2.9, 95% CI = 1.8 to 4.0), colorectal (Koreans: APC 1990–2008 = 2.2, 95% CI = 0.9 to 3.5), and liver cancers (Filipinos: APC 1990–2008 = 1.6, 95% CI = 0.4 to 2.7; Koreans: APC 1990–2006 = 2.1, 95% CI = 0.4 to 3.7; Vietnamese: APC 1990–2008 = 1.6, 95% CI = 0.3 to 2.8), whereas lung and stomach cancers generally remained stable or decreased. Among women, increases were observed for uterine cancer (Asian Indians: APC 1990–2008 = 3.0, 95% CI = 0.3 to 5.8; Chinese: APC 2004–2008 = 7.0, 95% CI = 1.4 to 12.9; Filipina: APC 1990–2008 = 3.0, 95% CI = 2.4 to 3.7; Japanese: APC 1990–2008 = 1.1, 95% CI = 0.1 to 2.0), colorectal cancer (Koreans: APC 1990–2008 = 2.8, 95% CI = 1.7 to 3.9; Laotians: APC: 1990–2008 = 5.9, 95% CI = 4.0 to 7.7), lung cancer (Filipinas: APC 1990–2008 = 2.1, 95% CI = 1.4 to 2.8; Koreans: APC 1990–2008 = 2.1, 95% CI = 0.6 to 3.6), thyroid cancer (Filipinas: APC 1990–2008 = 2.5, 95% CI = 1.7 to 3.3), and breast cancer in most groups (APC 1990–2008 from 1.2 among Vietnamese and Chinese to 4.7 among Koreans). Decreases were observed for stomach (Chinese and Japanese), colorectal (Chinese), and cervical cancers (Laotians and Vietnamese).
These data fill a critical knowledge gap concerning the cancer experience of Asian American groups and highlight where increased preventive, screening, and surveillance efforts are needed—in particular, lung cancer among Filipina and Korean women and Asian Indian/Pakistani men, breast cancer among all women, and liver cancer among Vietnamese, Laotian, and Kampuchean women and Filipino, Kampuchean, and Vietnamese men.
PMCID: PMC3735462  PMID: 23878350
4.  Differences in the cancer burden among foreign-born and US-born Arab Americans living in metropolitan Detroit 
Cancer causes & control : CCC  2013;24(11):1955-1961.
Migrant studies often provide clues for cancer etiology. We estimated the cancer burden among Arab Americans (ArA) by immigrant status in the metropolitan Detroit area, home to one of the highest concentrations of ArA in USA.
A validated name algorithm was used to identify ArA cancer cases diagnosed 1990–2009 in the Detroit SEER database. Recorded birthplace was supplemented with imputation of nativity using birthdate and social security number. Age-adjusted, gender-specific proportional incidence ratios and 95 % confidence intervals were calculated comparing all ArA, foreign-born ArA, and US-born ArA, to non-Hispanic Whites (NHW).
Foreign-born ArA males had higher proportions of multiple myeloma, leukemia, kidney, liver, stomach, and bladder cancer than NHW, while bladder cancer and leukemia were higher among US-born ArA males. For ArA women, gall bladder and thyroid cancers were proportionally higher among both foreign- and US-born compared with NHW. Stomach cancer was proportionally higher only among foreign-born women.
Cancer proportional incidence patterns among ArA show some similarity to other migrant groups, with higher proportional incidences of stomach and liver cancers among foreign-born than US-born. Other patterns, such as tobacco-related cancers among ArA men and gall bladder and thyroid cancers among ArA women, will require more investigation of genetic, epigenetic, and environmental factors.
PMCID: PMC4189086  PMID: 24013772
Arab Americans; Migrant groups; Cancer incidence; Proportional incidence ratios
5.  Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Cancer Screening 
Journal of General Internal Medicine  2003;18(12):1028-1035.
Racial/ethnic groups comprised largely of foreign-born individuals have lower rates of cancer screening than white Americans. Little is known about whether these disparities are related primarily to their race/ethnicity or birthplace.
To determine whether foreign birthplace explains some racial/ethnic disparities in cancer screening.
Cross-sectional study using 1998 data from the National Health Interview Survey.
Completion of cervical, breast, or colorectal cancer screening.
Of respondents, 15% were foreign born. In analyses adjusted for sociodemographic characteristics and illness burden, black respondents were as or more likely to report cancer screening than white respondents; however, Hispanic and Asian-American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) respondents were significantly less likely to report screening for most cancers. When race/ethnicity and birthplace were considered together, U.S.-born Hispanic and AAPI respondents were as likely to report cancer screening as U.S.-born whites; however, foreign-born white (adjusted odds ratio [AOR], 0.58; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.41 to 0.82), Hispanic (AOR, 0.65; 95% CI, 0.53 to 0.79), and AAPI respondents (AOR, 0.28; 95% CI, 0.19 to 0.39) were less likely than U.S.-born whites to report Pap smears. Foreign-born Hispanic and AAPI respondents were also less likely to report fecal occult blood testing (FOBT); AORs, 0.72; 95% CI, 0.53 to 0.98; and 0.61; 95% CI, 0.39 to 0.96, respectively); and sigmoidoscopy (AORs, 0.70; 95% CI, 0.51 to 0.97; and 0.63; 95% CI, 0.40 to 0.99, respectively). Furthermore, foreign-born AAPI respondents were less likely to report mammography (AOR, 0.49; 95% CI, 0.28 to 0.86). Adjusting for access to care partially attenuated disparities among foreign-born respondents.
Foreign birthplace may explain some disparities previously attributed to race or ethnicity, and is an important barrier to cancer screening, even after adjustment for other factors. Increasing access to health care may improve disparities among foreign-born persons to some degree, but further study is needed to understand other barriers to screening among the foreign-born.
PMCID: PMC1494963  PMID: 14687262
cervical cancer; breast cancer; colorectal cancer; cancer screening; race/ethnicity; immigrant status; health disparities
6.  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
7.  Trends in Breast Conserving Surgery Among Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, 1992–2000 
Breast-conserving surgery (BCS) has been the recommended treatment for early-stage breast cancer since 1990 yet many women still do not receive this procedure.
To examine the relationship between birthplace and use of BCS in Asian-American and Pacific-Islander (AAPI) women, and to determine whether disparities between white and AAPI women persist over time.
Retrospective cohort study.
Women with newly diagnosed stage I or II breast cancer from 1992 to 2000 in the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results program.
Receipt of breast -conserving surgery for initial treatment of stage I or II breast cancer.
Overall, AAPI women had lower rates of BCS than white women (47% vs 59%; P<.01). Foreign-born AAPI women had lower rates of BCS than U.S.-born AAPI and white women (43% vs 56% vs 59%; P<.01). After adjustment for age, marital status, tumor registry, year of diagnosis, stage at diagnosis, tumor size, histology, grade, and hormone receptor status, foreign-born AAPI women (adjusted OR [aOR], 0.49; 95% CI, 0.32 to 0.76) and U.S.-born AAPI women (aOR, 0.77; 95% CI, 0.62 to 0.95) had lower odds of receiving BCS than white women. Use of BCS increased over time for each racial/ethnic group; however, foreign-born AAPI women had persistently lower rates of BCS than non-Hispanic white women.
AAPI women, especially those who are foreign born, are less likely to receive BCS than non-Hispanic white women. Of particular concern, differences in BCS use among foreign-born and U.S.-born AAPI women and non-Hispanic white women have persisted over time. These differences may reflect inequities in the treatment of early-stage breast cancer for AAPI women, particularly those born abroad.
PMCID: PMC1490151  PMID: 16050854
breast neoplasms; cancer treatment; health disparities; race/ethnicity; immigrant health
8.  Disparities in liver cancer incidence by nativity, acculturation, and socioeconomic status in California Hispanics and Asians 
Asians and Hispanics have the highest incidence rates of liver cancer in the US, but little is known about how incidence patterns in these largely immigrant populations vary by nativity, acculturation, and socioeconomic status (SES). Such variations can identify high-priority subgroups for prevention and monitoring.
Incidence rates and rate ratios (IRRs) by nativity among 5,400 Hispanics and 5,809 Asians diagnosed with liver cancer in 1988–2004 were calculated in the California Cancer Registry. Neighborhood ethnic enclave status and SES were classified using 2000 US Census data for cases diagnosed in 1998–2002.
Foreign-born Hispanic males had significantly lower liver cancer incidence rates than US-born Hispanic males in 1988–2004 (e.g., IRR=0.54, 95% confidence interval [CI]=0.50–0.59), whereas foreign-born Hispanic females had significantly higher rates in 1988–1996 (IRR=1.42, 95% CI=1.18–1.71), but not 1997–2004. Foreign-born Asian males and females had up to 5-fold higher rates than the US-born. Among Hispanic females, incidence rates were elevated by 21% in higher-enclave versus lower-enclave neighborhoods, and by 24% in lower- versus higher-SES neighborhoods. Among Asian males, incidence rates were elevated by 23% in higher-enclave neighborhoods and by 21% in lower-SES neighborhoods. In both racial/ethnic populations, males and females in higher-enclave, lower-SES neighborhoods had higher incidence rates.
Nativity, residential enclave status, and neighborhood SES characterize Hispanics and Asians with significantly unequal incidence rates of liver cancer, implicating behavioral or environmental risk factors and revealing opportunities for prevention.
Liver cancer control efforts should especially target foreign-born Asians, US-born Hispanic men, and residents of lower-SES ethnic enclaves.
PMCID: PMC3005535  PMID: 20940276
9.  Invasive Breast Cancer Incidence Trends by Detailed Race/Ethnicity and Age 
Racial/ethnic disparities in breast cancer incidence may contain important evidence for understanding and control of the disease. Monitoring the incidence trends of breast cancer by race/ethnicity allows identification of high risk groups and development of targeted prevention programs.
Using population-based cancer registry data from the Los Angeles Cancer Surveillance Program, we examined the invasive female breast cancer incidence trends among the diverse racial/ethnic populations in Los Angeles County, California, from 1972 to 2007. Age-adjusted incidence rates (AAIR) and age-specific incidence rates (ASIR) were calculated and examined respectively for non-Hispanic (NH) white, black, Hispanic, Chinese, Filipina, Japanese, and Korean women by calendar year and time period.
Rising trends of AAIR were found in all racial/ethnic groups during the 1980s and 1990s. The breast cancer risk increased more substantially in Japanese and Filipinas than in Chinese and Koreans. During 2000–2007, the trends of AAIR declined significantly among NH white women and slightly in blacks, remained unchanged for Hispanics, and continued to rise significantly among all Asian subgroups. The patterns of ASIR by race/ethnicity changed dramatically over time. By 2000–2007, younger Hispanic women had the lowest breast cancer risk, replacing the Chinese and Koreans who formerly had the lowest risk.
Rapidly increasing breast cancer incidence trends among Asian-Americans underline the importance of behavioral and lifestyle changes as a result of acculturation on the development of the disease. The unique trends of breast cancer incidence by race/ethnicity suggest the need for targeted breast cancer control programs for different racial/ethnic populations.
PMCID: PMC3196818  PMID: 21351091
Breast cancer; Incidence; Race/Ethnicity; Trends
10.  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
11.  Follicular Thyroid Cancer Incidence Patterns in the United States, 1980–2009 
Thyroid  2013;23(8):1015-1021.
The increases in thyroid cancer overall and in the predominant papillary type have been well documented, but trends for follicular thyroid cancer, a less common but more aggressive variant, have not been as well characterized. In this study, we determined the incidence patterns for follicular thyroid cancer and compared trends between the follicular and papillary thyroid cancers in the United States.
We used the National Cancer Institute's Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) program to examine incidence in the United States during 1980–2009, stratified by demographic and tumor characteristics. Incidence rates (IR) were calculated, relative risks were expressed as incidence rate ratios (IRR), and temporal trends were expressed as percentage changes and plotted.
Overall we observed a modest increase in age-adjusted follicular thyroid cancer rates among women (31.89%) and men (35.88%). Rates increased most dramatically for regional stage tumors compared to localized tumors in women, whereas the rates for all tumor sizes rose. These findings reveal increases in more aggressive tumors in women in addition to small and localized tumors. The trends for males were different from those among females. Among males, the largest increase was observed for regional and smaller size tumors. The papillary-to-follicular IRR overall was 7.07 [95% confidence interval 6.91–7.24], which varied from 7.37 among Whites to 3.86 among Blacks (SEER race/ethnicity categories), and increased significantly from 3.98 during 1980–1984 to 9.88 during 2005–2009.
The different trends for follicular and papillary types of thyroid cancer illustrate that thyroid cancer is a heterogeneous disease. Our results do not support the hypothesis that increasing thyroid cancer rates are largely due to improvements in detection, and suggest the importance of evaluating thyroid cancer types separately in future studies.
PMCID: PMC3752506  PMID: 23360496
12.  Disparities in mammographic screening for Asian women in California: a cross-sectional analysis to identify meaningful groups for targeted intervention 
BMC Cancer  2007;7:201.
Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among the rapidly growing population of Asian Americans; it is also the most common cause of cancer mortality among Filipinas. Asian women continue to have lower rates of mammographic screening than women of most other racial/ethnic groups. While prior studies have described the effects of sociodemographic and other characteristics of women on non-adherence to screening guidelines, they have not identified the distinct segments of the population who remain at highest risk of not being screened.
To better describe characteristics of Asian women associated with not having a mammogram in the last two years, we applied recursive partitioning to population-based data (N = 1521) from the 2001 California Health Interview Survey (CHIS), for seven racial/ethnic groups of interest: Chinese, Japanese, Filipino, Korean, South Asian, Vietnamese, and all Asians combined.
We identified two major subgroups of Asian women who reported not having a mammogram in the past two years and therefore, did not follow mammography screening recommendations: 1) women who have never had a pap exam to screen for cervical cancer (68% had no mammogram), and 2) women who have had a pap exam, but have no women's health issues (osteoporosis, using menopausal hormone therapies, and/or hysterectomy) nor a usual source of care (62% had no mammogram). Only 19% of Asian women who have had pap screening and have women's health issues did not have a mammogram in the past two years. In virtually all ethnic subgroups, having had pap or colorectal screening were the strongest delineators of mammography usage. Other characteristics of women least likely to have had a mammogram included: Chinese non-U.S. citizens or citizens without usual source of health care, Filipinas with no health insurance, Koreans without women's health issues and public or no health insurance, South Asians less than age 50 who were unemployed or non-citizens, and Vietnamese women who were never married.
We identified distinct subgroups of Asian women at highest risk of not adhering to mammography screening guidelines; these data can inform outreach efforts aimed at reducing the disparity in mammography screening among Asian women.
PMCID: PMC2198916  PMID: 17961259
13.  Menstrual and reproductive factors and risk of breast cancer in Asian-Americans. 
British Journal of Cancer  1996;73(5):680-686.
We conducted a population-based case-control study of breast cancer among Chinese-, Japanese- and Filipino-American women in Los Angeles County Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), San Francisco-Oakland MSA and Oahu, Hawaii. One objective of the study was to quantify breast cancer risks in relation to menstrual and reproductive histories in migrant and US-born Asian-Americans and to establish whether the gradient of risk in Asian-Americans can be explained by these factors. Using a common study design and questionnaire in the three study areas, we successfully conducted in-person interviews with 597 Asian-American women diagnosed with incident, primary breast cancer during the period 1983-87 (70% of those eligible) and 966 population-based controls (75% of those eligible). Controls were matched to cases on age, ethnicity and area of residence. In the present analysis, which included 492 cases and 768 controls, we observed a statistically non-significant 4% reduction in risk of breast cancer with each year delay in onset of menstruation. Independent of age at menarche risk of breast cancer was lower (odds ratio; OR=0.77) among women with menstrual cycles greater than 29 days. Parous Asian-American women showed a significantly lower risk of breast cancer then nulliparous women (OR=0.54). An increasing number of livebirths and a decreasing age at first livebirth were both associated with a lower risk of breast cancer, although the effect of number of livebirths was no longer significant after adjustment for age at first livebirth. Women with a pregnancy (spontaneous or induced abortions) but no livebirth had a statistically non-significant increased risk (OR=1.84), but there was no evidence that one type of abortion was particularly harmful. A positive history of breastfeeding was associated with non-significantly lower risk of breast cancer (OR=.78). There are several notable differences in the menstrual and reproductive factors between Asian-Americans in this study and published data on US whites. US-born Asian Americans had an average age at menarche of 12.12 years-no older than has been found in comparable studies of US whites, but 1.4 years earlier than Asian women who migrated to the US. Asian-American women, particularly those born in the US and those who migrated before age 36, also had a later age at first birth and fewer livebirths than US whites. A slightly higher proportion of Asian-American women breastfed, compared with US whites. The duration of breastfeeding was similar in US-born Asians and US whites, but was longer in Asian migrants, especially those who migrated at a later age. Menstrual and reproductive factors in Asian-American women are consistent with their breast cancer rates being at least as high as in US whites, and they are. However, the effects of these menstrual and reproductive factors were small and the ORs for migration variables changed only slightly after adjustment for these menstrual and reproductive factors. These results suggest that the lower rates of breast cancer in Asians must be largely as a result of other environmental/lifestyle factors.
PMCID: PMC2074339  PMID: 8605107
14.  Thyroid Cancer Incidence Patterns in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and the U.S. SEER Program, 1997–2008 
Thyroid  2013;23(6):748-757.
Thyroid cancer incidence has risen steadily over the last few decades in most of the developed world, but information on incidence trends in developing countries is limited. Sao Paulo, Brazil, has one of the highest rates of thyroid cancer worldwide, higher than in the United States. We examined thyroid cancer incidence patterns using data from the Sao Paulo Cancer Registry (SPCR) in Brazil and the National Cancer Institute's Surveillance Epidemiology End Results (SEER) program in the United States.
Data on thyroid cancer cases diagnosed during 1997–2008 were obtained from SPCR (n=15,892) and SEER (n=42,717). Age-adjusted and age-specific rates were calculated by sex and histology and temporal patterns were compared between the two populations.
Overall incidence rates increased over time in both populations and were higher in Sao Paulo than in the United States among females (SPCR/SEER incidence rate ratio [IRR]=1.65) and males (IRR=1.23). Papillary was the most common histology in both populations, followed by follicular and medullary carcinomas. Incidence rates by histology were consistently higher in Sao Paulo than in the United States, with the greatest differences for follicular (IRR=2.44) and medullary (IRR=3.29) carcinomas among females. The overall female/male IRR was higher in Sao Paulo (IRR=4.17) than in SEER (IRR=3.10) and did not change over time. Papillary rates rose over time more rapidly in Sao Paulo (annual percentage change=10.3% among females and 9.6% among males) than in the United States (6.9% and 5.7%, respectively). Regardless of sex, rates rose faster among younger people (<50 years) in Sao Paulo, but among older people (≥50 years) in the United States. The papillary to follicular carcinoma ratio rose from <3 to >8 among both Sao Paulo males and females, in contrast to increases from 9 to 12 and from 6 to 7 among U.S.males and females, respectively.
Increased diagnostic activity may be contributing to the notable rise in incidence, mainly for papillary type, in both populations, but it is not likely to be the only reason. Differences in iodine nutrition status between Sao Paulo and the U.S. SEER population might have affected the observed incidence patterns.
PMCID: PMC3675840  PMID: 23410185
15.  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
16.  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
17.  Thyroid cancer incidence among active duty U.S. military personnel, 1990-2004 
Increases in thyroid papillary carcinoma incidence rates have largely been attributed to heightened medical surveillance and improved diagnostics. We examined papillary carcinoma incidence in an equal-access healthcare system by demographics, which are related to incidence.
Incidence rates during 1990-2004 among white and black individuals aged 20-49 years in the military and the general U.S. population were compared using data from the Department of Defense’s Automated Central Tumor Registry and the National Cancer Institute’s Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER-9) program.
Incidence was significantly higher in the military than in the general population among white women [incidence rate ratio (IRR)=1.42, 95% 95% confidence interval (CI)=1.25-1.61], black women (IRR=2.31, 95% CI=1.70-2.99), and black men (IRR=1.69, 95% CI=1.10-2.50). Among whites, differences between the two populations were confined to rates of localized tumors (women: IRR=1.73, 95% CI=1.47-2.00; men: IRR=1.51, 95% CI=1.30-1.75), which may partially be due to variation in staging classification. Among white women, rates were significantly higher in the military regardless of tumor size, and rates rose significantly over time both for tumors ≤2 cm (military: IRR=1.64, 95% CI=1.18-2.28; general population: IRR=1.55, 95% CI=1.45-1.66) and >2 cm (military: IRR=1.74, 95% CI=1.07-2.81; general population: IRR=1.48, 95% CI=1.27-1.72). Among white men, rates increased significantly only in the general population. Incidence also varied by military service branch.
Heightened medical surveillance does not appear to fully explain the differences between the two populations or the temporal increases in either population.
These findings suggest the importance of future research into thyroid cancer etiology.
PMCID: PMC3210876  PMID: 21914838
Thyroid Neoplasms; Incidence; SEER Program; Military Personnel; United States/epidemiology
18.  The effect of ethnicity and maternal birthplace on small-for-gestational-age deliveries to HIV-infected women 
To examine the relative role of ethnicity and maternal birthplace on small-for-gestational-age (SGA) deliveries of a cohort of mothers in New York who were infected with human immunodeficiency virus.
Medicaid claims and linked vital statistics records were examined for 2,525 singleton deliveries to HIV-infected women from 1993 through 1996. We estimated adjusted odds ratios (AORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) of SGA delivery associated with ethnicity (i.e., white, white-Latina, black, and black-Latina) and maternal birthplace (i.e., native US/Puerto Rican vs. foreign born) in a series of multivariate regression models to which we sequentially added demographic, health services, and lifestyle factors (i.e., alcohol, tobacco, and illicit drug use).
Of the deliveries, 10% were SGA. The odds of SGA infants for black and white women did not differ by maternal birthplace. Foreign-born white-Latinas and black-Latinas had lower unadjusted odds of a SGA delivery than their US-born counterparts (OR 0.29, CI 0.14, 0.61 and OR 0.22, CI 0.07, 0.71, respectively). After adjustment for maternal lifestyle characteristics, the odds of SGA delivery were 0.50 (CI 0.23, 1.09) for white-Latina mothers and 0.60 (CI 0.17, 2.08) for black-Latina mothers.
SGA outcomes did not differ by maternal birthplace for black and white women. Differences in lifestyle factors appear to contribute to lower odds of SGA delivery for foreign-born versus US-born white- and black-Latina HIV-infected women.
PMCID: PMC3456377  PMID: 11937623
African American; Hispanic American; HIV Infection; Medicaid; Small for Gestational Age; Substance Abuse-Related Disorders
19.  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
20.  Thyroid Cancer Incidence Patterns in the United States by Histologic Type, 1992–2006 
Thyroid  2011;21(2):125-134.
The increasing incidence of thyroid cancer in the United States is well documented. In this study, we assessed the incidence patterns by histologic type according to demographic and tumor characteristics to further our understanding of these cancers.
We used the National Cancer Institute's Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) program for cases diagnosed during 1992–2006 to investigate patterns for the four major histologic types of thyroid cancer by gender, race/ethnicity, and age as well as registry, tumor stage, and size.
Among women, papillary thyroid cancer rates were highest among Asians (10.96 per 100,000 woman-years) and lowest among blacks (4.90 per 100,000 woman-years); follicular cancer rates did not vary substantially by race/ethnicity (p-values >0.05), medullary cancer rates were highest among Hispanics (0.21 per 100,000 woman-years) and whites (0.22 per 100,000 woman-years), and anaplastic rates were highest among Hispanics (0.17 per 100,000 woman-years). Among men, both papillary and follicular thyroid cancer rates were highest among whites (3.58 and 0.58 per 100,000 man-years, respectively), medullary cancer rates were highest among Hispanics (0.18 per 100,000 man-years), and anaplastic rates were highest among Asians (0.11 per 100,000 man-years). Racial/ethnic-specific rates did not vary notably across registries. In contrast to age-specific rates of papillary thyroid cancer that peaked in midlife (age 50), especially pronounced among women, rates for follicular, medullary, and anaplastic types continued to rise across virtually the entire age range, especially for anaplastic carcinomas. Female-to-male incidence rate ratios among whites decreased with age most steeply for the follicular type and least steeply for the medullary type; it was <1 until the very oldest ages for the anaplastic type.
We conclude that the similar age-specific patterns and lack of geographical variation across the SEER racial/ethnic groups indicate that detection effects cannot completely explain the observed thyroid cancer incidence patterns as variation in the amount or quality of healthcare provided has been shown to vary by SEER racial/ethnic groups, gender, and age. We find that the variations in age-specific patterns by gender and across histologic types are intriguing and recommend that future etiologic investigation focus on exogenous and endogenous exposures that are experienced similarly by racial/ethnic groups, more strongly among women, and distinctively by age.
PMCID: PMC3025182  PMID: 21186939
21.  What factors explain disparities in mammography rates among Asian American immigrant women? A population-based study in California 
The purpose of this study was to compare rates of screening mammography among immigrant women in five Asian American ethnic groups in California, and ascertain the extent to which differences in mammography rates among these groups are attributable to differences in known correlates of cancer screening.
Using 2009 data from the California Health Interview Survey, we compared the rates of mammography among Chinese, Filipino, Japanese, Korean, and Vietnamese immigrants 40 years and older. To assess the impact of Asian ethnicity on participation in screening, we performed multiple logistic regression analysis with models that progressively adjusted for acculturation, socio-demographic characteristics, access to health care and breast cancer risk factors, and examined the predicted probabilities of screening after adjusting for these factors.
Participation in screening mammography differed according to ethnicity, with Filipina and Vietnamese Americans having the highest rates and Korean Americans having the lowest rates of lifetime and recent (past two years) screening. These differences decreased substantially after adjusting for acculturation, socio-demographic factors and risk factors of breast cancer but differences still remained, most notably for Korean Americans, who continued to have the lowest predicted probability of screening even after adjustment for these factors.
This analysis draws attention to low mammography screening rates among Asian American immigrants, especially recent immigrants who lack health insurance. Given that their breast cancer incidence is rising with length of stay in the United States, it is very important to increase regular mammography screening in these groups.
PMCID: PMC3833860  PMID: 24183415
22.  Cancer incidence and mortality patterns among specific Asian and Pacific Islander populations in the U.S. 
Cancer Causes & Control   2007;19(3):227-256.
We report cancer incidence, mortality, and stage distributions among Asians and Pacific Islanders (API) residing in the U.S. and note health disparities, using the cancer experience of the non-Hispanic white population as the referent group. New databases added to publicly available SEER*Stat software will enable public health researchers to further investigate cancer patterns among API groups.
Cancer diagnoses among API groups occurring from 1 January 1998 to 31 December 2002 were included from 14 Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Program state and regional population-based cancer registries covering 54% of the U.S. API population. Cancer deaths were included from the seven states that report death information for detailed API groups and which cover over 68% of the total U.S. API population. Using detailed racial/ethnic population data from the 2000 decennial census, we produced incidence rates centered on the census year for Asian Indians/Pakistanis, Chinese, Filipinos, Guamanians, Native Hawaiians, Japanese, Kampucheans, Koreans, Laotians, Samoans, Tongans, and Vietnamese. State vital records offices do not report API deaths separately for Kampucheans, Laotians, Pakistanis, and Tongans, so mortality rates were analyzed only for the remaining API groups.
Overall cancer incidence rates for the API groups tended be lower than overall rates for non-Hispanic whites, with the exception of Native Hawaiian women (All cancers rate = 488.5 per 100,000 vs. 448.5 for non-Hispanic white women). Among the API groups, overall cancer incidence and death rates were highest for Native Hawaiian and Samoan men and women due to high rates for cancers of the prostate, lung, and colorectum among Native Hawaiian men; cancers of the prostate, lung, liver, and stomach among Samoan men; and cancers of the breast and lung among Native Hawaiian and Samoan women. Incidence and death rates for cancers of the liver, stomach, and nasopharynx were notably high in several of the API groups and exceeded rates generally seen for non-Hispanic white men and women. Incidence rates were lowest among Asian Indian/Pakistani and Guamanian men and women and Kampuchean women. Asian Indian and Guamanian men and women also had the lowest cancer death rates. Selected API groups had less favorable distributions of stage at diagnosis for certain cancers than non-Hispanic whites.
Possible disparities in cancer incidence or mortality between specific API groups in our study and non-Hispanic whites (referent group) were identified for several cancers. Unfavorable patterns of stage at diagnosis for cancers of the colon and rectum, breast, cervix uteri, and prostate suggest a need for cancer control interventions in selected groups. The observed variation in cancer patterns among API groups indicates the importance of monitoring these groups separately, as these patterns may provide etiologic clues that could be investigated by analytic epidemiological studies.
PMCID: PMC2268721  PMID: 18066673
Cancer; Incidence; Mortality; Race; Ethnicity; Asian; Pacific Islander; SEER Program
23.  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
24.  Biliary tract cancer incidence in the United States- demographic and temporal variations by anatomic site 
We evaluated incidence patterns of biliary tract cancers (gallbladder, extrahepatic bile duct, ampulla of Vater, and not otherwise specified) to provide potential insight into the etiology of these cancers. Data were obtained from the population-based Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) program. Rates for cases diagnosed during 1992–2009 were calculated by racial/ethnic, gender, and age groups. Temporal trends during 1974–2009 and annual percentage changes (APC) during 1992–2009 were estimated. Age-adjusted rates by site were higher among American Indian/Alaska Natives, Hispanics (white) and Asian/Pacific Islanders (Asian/PI) and lower among whites and blacks. Gallbladder cancer was more common among women in all ethnic groups (female-to-male incidence rate ratio [IRR] ranged from 1.24 to 2.86), but bile duct and ampulla of Vater cancers were more common among men (female-to-male IRR 0.57 to 0.82). Gallbladder cancer rates declined among all racial/ethnic and gender groups except blacks (APC −0.4% to −3.9%). In contrast, extrahepatic bile duct cancer rates rose significantly in most female racial/ethnic groups; the APCs among whites were 0.8 among females and 1.3 among males, both significant. Rates for ampulla of Vater cancer decreased among Asian/PI females (APC −2.7%) but remained stable for the other groups. In addition to confirming that biliary tract cancer incidence patterns differ by gender and site, and that the gallbladder cancer incidence rates have been declining, this study provides novel evidence that extrahepatic bile duct cancer rates are rising. These observations may help guide future etiologic studies.
PMCID: PMC3713194  PMID: 23504585
biliary tract cancer; gallbladder cancer; extrahepatic bile duct cancer; ampulla of Vater cancer; Klatskin tumors; incidence
25.  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

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