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1.  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
2.  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
3.  Physical Distress and Cancer Care Experiences Among Chinese-American and Non-Hispanic White Breast Cancer Survivors 
Gynecologic Oncology  2011;124(3):383-388.
The number of Chinese-American breast cancer survivors (BCS) is increasing as a result of increasing incidence rates. There has been little research on Chinese BCS’ follow-up cancer care. This qualitative study aims to understand how Chinese-American BCS experience and cope with physical distress relative to non-Hispanic White (NHW) survivors.
Seventy-one BCS (37 Chinese immigrant, 7 US-born Chinese, 27 NHW) were recruited from the Greater Bay Area Cancer Registry to participate in focus group discussions or one-on-one interviews about their survivorship experiences. All BCS were diagnosed with breast cancer at stage 0-IIA between 2006-2009, and had survived for 1-4 years without recurrence. Interviews were conducted in Cantonese, Mandarin, or English. Data analyses followed established qualitative methods of content analysis.
BCS experienced pain and side effects from radiation, surgery, and hormonal therapy. Physical distress subsequently caused emotional concerns about recurrence or metastasis. Most BCS consulted physicians about their physical distress. Chinese immigrant BCS were less likely to have their issues resolved compared to NHW and US-born Chinese who were more likely to question physicians, ask for referrals, and make repeat attempts if their problems were not resolved. Some Chinese immigrant BCS turned to Traditional Chinese Medicine for relief or accepted the idea that physical distress was part of survivorship.
Chinese immigrant BCS may be at risk for greater distress compared with US-born Chinese and NHW BCS because of cultural norms that make them less inclined to express their needs to physicians or challenge physicians when their needs are not met. Furthermore, they may express symptoms in culturally unique ways (e.g., hot-cold imbalances). Further research is needed to determine how to best improve survivorship care experiences in this understudied population, with the goal of decreasing BCS’ physical distress and improving quality of life.
PMCID: PMC3298543  PMID: 22115854
4.  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
5.  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
6.  Obesity and Mortality After Breast Cancer by Race/Ethnicity: The California Breast Cancer Survivorship Consortium 
American Journal of Epidemiology  2013;179(1):95-111.
We investigated body size and survival by race/ethnicity in 11,351 breast cancer patients diagnosed from 1993 to 2007 with follow-up through 2009 by using data from questionnaires and the California Cancer Registry. We calculated hazard ratios and 95% confidence intervals from multivariable Cox proportional hazard model–estimated associations of body size (body mass index (BMI) (weight (kg)/height (m)2) and waist-hip ratio (WHR)) with breast cancer–specific and all-cause mortality. Among 2,744 ascertained deaths, 1,445 were related to breast cancer. Being underweight (BMI <18.5) was associated with increased risk of breast cancer mortality compared with being normal weight in non-Latina whites (hazard ratio (HR) = 1.91, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.14, 3.20), whereas morbid obesity (BMI ≥40) was suggestive of increased risk (HR = 1.43, 95% CI: 0.84, 2.43). In Latinas, only the morbidly obese were at high risk of death (HR = 2.26, 95% CI: 1.23, 4.15). No BMI–mortality associations were apparent in African Americans and Asian Americans. High WHR (quartile 4 vs. quartile 1) was associated with breast cancer mortality in Asian Americans (HR = 2.21, 95% CI: 1.21, 4.03; P for trend = 0.01), whereas no associations were found in African Americans, Latinas, or non-Latina whites. For all-cause mortality, even stronger BMI and WHR associations were observed. The impact of obesity and body fat distribution on breast cancer patients' risk of death may vary across racial/ethnic groups.
PMCID: PMC3864715  PMID: 24107615
adiposity; body mass index; breast cancer; mortality; obesity; race/ethnicity; survival; waist-hip ratio
7.  A Mixed Method Exploration of Survivorship among Chinese American and Non-Hispanic White Breast Cancer Survivors: The Role of Socioeconomic Well-Being 
Cancer-related stress is heavily influenced by culture. This study explored similarities and differences in survivorship care concerns among Chinese American and Non-Hispanic White (NHW) breast cancer survivors.
A sequential, mixed-method design (inductive/qualitative research-phase I and deductive/quantitative research-phase II) was employed. Eligible women identified from the Greater Bay Area Cancer Registry were age ≥21, diagnosed with stage 0-IIa breast cancer between 2006–2011, and had no recurrence or other cancers. In phase I, we conducted 4 Chinese (n=19) and 4 NHW (n=22) focus groups, and 31 individual telephone interviews (18 Chinese immigrants, 7 Chinese US-born, and 6 NHW). Content analysis was conducted to examine qualitative data. In phase II, another 296 survivors (148 NHW age-matched to 148 Chinese cases) completed a cross-sectional survey. Descriptive statistics and linear regression analysis were conducted to examine quantitative data.
Qualitative data revealed “socioeconomic wellbeing” (SWB) as a dominant survivorship concern, which was operationalized as a cancer survivor’s perceived economic and social resources available to access care. Quantitative data showed that low-acculturated Chinese immigrants reported the poorest SWB, controlling for covariates. Highly-acculturated Chinese immigrants and the US-born Chinese/NHW group reported similar SWB. Women who had low income levels or chemotherapy had poorer SWB.
SWB emerged as an important aspect of breast cancer survivorship. Immigration stress, cancer care costs, and cultural values all contributed to immigrants’ socioeconomic distress. Immigrant and US-born breast cancer survivors experienced different socioeconomic circumstances and well-being following treatment. Our findings warrant further investigation of socioeconomic distress and survivorship outcomes.
PMCID: PMC3855903  PMID: 23591710
Socioeconomic well-being; Mixed-method; Cancer survivorship; Ethnicity; Chinese Americans; Acculturation
8.  Cancer Incidence Trends Among Native Hawaiians and Other Pacific Islanders in the United States, 1990–2008 
Lack of annual population estimates for disaggregated Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander (NHOPI) populations limits the ability to examine cancer incidence rates and trends to understand the cancer burdens among NHOPIs.
Utilizing 1990 and 2000 population census data, we estimated the annual populations by age and sex for Native Hawaiians, Samoans, and Guamanians/Chamorros for 1990–2008 in regions covered by 13 of the National Cancer Institute’s SEER registries. Cancer diagnoses during 1990–2008 from these registries were used to calculate the age-adjusted (2000 US Standard) incidence rates by sex, calendar year/period, and cancer type for each population. The annual percentage change (APC) in incidence rates was estimated with the 95% confidence intervals (95% CIs) calculated for both the rate and APC estimates.
Statistically significant declining trends were found in Native Hawaiians, in men for lung and stomach cancers (APC = –2.3%; 95% CI = –3.3 to –1.3; and APC = –3.8%; 95% CI = –6.0 to –1.6, respectively), and in women for breast cancer (APC = –4.1%; 95% CI = –5.7 to –2.5) since 1998 and lung cancer (APC = –6.4%; 95% CI = –10.7 to –1.8) since 2001. Rising incidence trends were experienced by Samoans, especially by Samoan women for breast (APC = 2.7%; 95% CI = 0.9 to 4.5) and uterus (APC = 7.3%; 95% CI = 6.2 to 8.4) cancers. With limited data, Guamanians/Chamorros demonstrated lower, but increasing, incidence rates than other NHOPIs.
Population-based cancer incidence rates for disaggregated NHOPI populations help identify disparities in cancer burden and provide valuable information to improve cancer control efforts among NHOPIs.
PMCID: PMC3735461  PMID: 23878354
9.  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
10.  The California Breast Cancer Survivorship Consortium (CBCSC): Prognostic factors associated with racial/ethnic differences in breast cancer survival 
Cancer causes & control : CCC  2013;24(10):1821-1836.
Racial/ethnic disparities in mortality among US breast cancer patients are well-documented. Our knowledge of the contribution of lifestyle factors to disease prognosis is based primarily on non-Latina Whites and is limited for Latina, African American and Asian American women. To address this knowledge gap, the California Breast Cancer Survivorship Consortium (CBCSC) harmonized and pooled interview information (e.g., demographics, family history of breast cancer, parity, smoking, alcohol consumption) from six California-based breast cancer studies and assembled corresponding cancer registry data (clinical characteristics, mortality), resulting in 12,210 patients (6,501 non-Latina Whites, 2,060 African Americans, 2,032 Latinas, 1,505 Asian Americans, 112 other race/ethnicity) diagnosed with primary invasive breast cancer between 1993 and 2007. In total, 3,047 deaths (1,570 breast cancer-specific) were observed with a mean (SD) follow-up of 8.3 (3.5) years. Cox-proportional hazards regression models were fit to data to estimate hazards ratios (HR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) for overall and breast cancer-specific mortality. Compared with non-Latina Whites, the HR of breast cancer-specific mortality was 1.13 (95% CI, 0.97-1.33) for African Americans, 0.84 (95% CI, 0.70-1.00) for Latinas, and 0.60 (95% CI, 0.37-0.97) for Asian Americans after adjustment for age, tumor characteristics, and select lifestyle factors. The CBCSC represents a large and racially/ethnically diverse cohort of breast cancer patients from California. This cohort will enable analyses to jointly consider a variety of clinical, lifestyle, and contextual factors in attempting to explain the long-standing disparities in breast cancer outcomes.
PMCID: PMC4046898  PMID: 23864487
race/ethnicity; survival; tumor characteristics; lifestyle factors
11.  Survival after lumpectomy and mastectomy for early stage invasive breast cancer: the effect of age and hormone receptor status 
Cancer  2013;119(7):1402-1411.
Randomized clinical trials (RCT) have demonstrated equivalent survival for breast conserving therapy with radiation (BCT) and mastectomy for early stage breast cancer. We studied a large, population-based series of women who underwent BCT or M to observe whether outcomes of RCT were achieved in the general population, and whether survival differed by surgery type when stratified by age and hormone receptor (HR) status.
We obtained information regarding all women diagnosed in the state of California with stage I or II breast cancer between 1990 and 2004, treated with either BCT or mastectomy and followed for vital status through December 2009. We used Cox proportional hazards modeling to compare overall survival (OS) and disease-specific survival (DSS) between BCT and mastectomy groups. Analyses were stratified by age group (<50 years and ≥50 years) and tumor hormone receptor (HR) status.
112,154 women fulfilled eligibility criteria. Women undergoing BCT had improved OS and DSS when compared to women with mastectomy (adjusted HR for OS entire cohort 0.81, 95% CI 0.80 – 0.83). The DSS benefit with BCT compared to mastectomy was greater among women age≥50 with HR-positive disease (HR 0.86, 95% CI 0.82–0.91) than among women age<50 with HR-negative disease (HR 0.88, 95% CI 0.79–0.98); however, this trend was seen among all subgroups analyzed.
Among patients with early stage breast cancer, BCT was associated with improved DSS. These data provide confidence that BCT remains an effective alternative to mastectomy for early stage disease regardless of age or HR status.
PMCID: PMC3604076  PMID: 23359049
12.  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
13.  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
14.  Early discontinuation and non-adherence to adjuvant hormonal therapy are associated with increased mortality in women with breast cancer 
Despite the benefit of adjuvant hormonal therapy (HT) on mortality among women with breast cancer (BC), many women are non-adherent with its use. We investigated the effects of early discontinuation and non-adherence to HT on mortality in women enrolled in Kaiser Permanente of Northern California (KPNC). We identified women diagnosed with hormone-sensitive stage I–III BC, 1996–2007, and used automated pharmacy records to identify prescriptions and dates of refill. We categorized patients as having discontinued HT early if 180 days elapsed from the prior prescription. For those who continued, we categorized patients as adherent if the medication possession ratio was ≥80%. We used Cox proportional hazards models to estimate the association between discontinuation and non-adherence with all-cause mortality. Among 8,769 women who filled at least one prescription for HT, 2,761 (31%) discontinued therapy. Of those who continued HT, 1,684 (28%) were non-adherent. During a median follow-up of 4.4 years, 813 women died. Estimated survival at 10 years was 80.7% for women who continued HT versus 73.6% for those who discontinued (P < 0.001). Of those who continued, survival at 10 years was 81.7 and 77.8% in women who adhered and non-adhered, respectively (P < 0.001). Adjusting for clinical and demographic variables, both early discontinuation (HR 1.26, 95% CI 1.09–1.46) and non-adherence (HR 1.49, 95% CI 1.23–1.81), among those who continued, were independent predictors of mortality. Both early discontinuation and non-adherence to HT were common and associated with increased mortality. Interventions to improve continuation of and adherence to HT may be critical to improve BC survival.
PMCID: PMC3462663  PMID: 20803066
Hormonal therapy; Adherence; Survival
15.  Racial/ethnic differences in initiation of adjuvant hormonal therapy among women with hormone receptor-positive breast cancer 
Mortality after breast cancer diagnosis is known to vary by race/ethnicity even after adjustment for differences in tumor characteristics. As adjuvant hormonal therapy decreases risk of recurrence and increases overall survival among women with hormone receptor-positive tumors, treatment disparities may play a role. We explored racial/ethnic differences in initiation of adjuvant hormonal therapy, defined as 2 or more prescriptions for tamoxifen or aromatase inhibitor filled within the first year after diagnosis of hormone receptor-positive localized or regional stage breast cancer. The sample included women diagnosed with breast cancer enrolled in Kaiser Permanente Northern California (KPNC).
Odds ratios [OR] and 95% confidence intervals [CI] compared initiation by race/ethnicity (Hispanic, African American, Chinese, Japanese, Filipino, and South Asian vs. non-Hispanic White (NHW)) using logistic regression. Covariates included age and year of diagnosis, area-level socioeconomic status, co-morbidities, tumor stage, histology, grade, breast cancer surgery, radiation and chemotherapy use.
Our sample included 13,753 women aged 20–79 years, diagnosed between 1996 and 2007, and 70% initiated adjuvant hormonal therapy. In multivariable analysis, Hispanic and Chinese women were less likely than NHW women to initiate adjuvant hormonal therapy ([OR]=0.82; [CI] 0.71–0.96 and [OR]=0.78; [CI] 0.63–0.98; respectively).
Within an equal access, insured population, lower levels of initiation of adjuvant hormonal therapy were found for Hispanic and Chinese women. Findings need to be confirmed in other populations and the reasons for under-initiation among these groups need to be explored.
PMCID: PMC3375495  PMID: 21922245
breast cancer; adjuvant hormonal therapy; tamoxifen; aromatase inhibitors; racial/ethnic disparities
16.  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
17.  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
18.  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
19.  Impact of neighborhood racial composition and metropolitan residential segregation on disparities in breast cancer stage at diagnosis and survival between black and white women in California1 
Journal of community health  2010;35(4):398-408.
We examined the impact of metropolitan racial residential segregation on stage at diagnosis and all-cause and breast cancer-specific survival between and within black and white women diagnosed with breast cancer in California between 1996 and 2004.
We merged data from the California Cancer Registry with Census indices of five dimensions of racial residential segregation, quantifying segregation among Blacks relative to Whites; block group (“neighborhood”) measures of the percentage of Blacks and a composite measure of socioeconomic status. We also examined simultaneous segregation on at least two measures (“hypersegregation”). Using logistic regression we examined effects of these measures on stage at diagnosis and Cox proportional hazards regression for survival.
For all-cause and breast-cancer specific mortality, living in neighborhoods with more Blacks was associated with lower mortality among black women, but higher mortality among Whites. However, neighborhood racial composition and metropolitan segregation did not explain differences in stage or survival between Black and White women.
Future research should identify mechanisms by which these measures impact breast cancer diagnosis and outcomes among Black women.
PMCID: PMC2906635  PMID: 20358266
Breast cancer; Survival; Stage at diagnosis; Residential segregation; Race
20.  Uncovering disparities in survival after non-small-cell lung cancer among Asian/Pacific Islander ethnic populations in California 
Asians may have better survival after non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) than non-Asians. However, it is unknown whether survival varies among the heterogeneous U.S. Asian/Pacific Islander (API) populations. Therefore, this study aimed to quantify survival differences among APIs with NSCLC. Differences in overall and disease-specific survival were analyzed in the California Cancer Registry among 16,577 API patients diagnosed with incident NSCLC between 1988 and 2007. Adjusted hazard ratios (HRs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were estimated using Cox proportional hazards regression models with separate baseline hazards by disease stage. Despite better overall and disease-specific survival among APIs compared with non-Hispanic Whites, differences were evident across API populations. Among women, Japanese (overall survival HR=1.16, 95% CI=1.06–1.27) and APIs other than those in the six largest ethnic groups (“other APIs”; HR=1.19, 95% CI=1.07–1.33) had significantly poorer overall and disease-specific survival than Chinese. By contrast, South Asian women had significantly better survival than Chinese (HR=0.79, 95% CI=0.63–0.97). Among men, Japanese (HR=1.15, 95% CI=1.07–1.24), Vietnamese (HR=1.07, 95% CI=1.00–1.16), and other APIs (HR=1.18, 95% CI=1.08–1.28) had significantly poorer overall and disease-specific survival than Chinese. Other factors independently associated with poorer survival were lower neighborhood SES, involvement with a non-university-teaching hospital, unmarried status, older age, and earlier year of diagnosis. APIs have significant ethnic differences in NSCLC survival that may be related to disparate lifestyles, biology, and especially health care access or use. To reduce the nationwide burden of lung cancer mortality, it is critical to identify and ameliorate hidden survival disparities such as those among APIs.
PMCID: PMC2764550  PMID: 19622719
non-small-cell lung cancer; survival; Asian Americans; Pacific Islanders; ethnic groups
21.  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
22.  Longitudinal, population-based study of racial/ethnic differences in colorectal cancer survival: impact of neighborhood socioeconomic status, treatment and comorbidity 
BMC Cancer  2007;7:193.
Colorectal cancer, if detected early, has greater than 90% 5-year survival. However, survival has been shown to vary across racial/ethnic groups in the United States, despite the availability of early detection methods.
This study evaluated the joint effects of sociodemographic factors, tumor characteristics, census-based socioeconomic status (SES), treatment, and comorbidities on survival after colorectal cancer among and within racial/ethnic groups, using the SEER-Medicare database for patients diagnosed in 1992–1996, and followed through 1999.
Unadjusted colorectal cancer-specific mortality rates were higher among Blacks and Hispanic males than whites (relative rates (95% confidence intervals) = 1.34 (1.26–1.42) and 1.16 (1.04–1.29), respectively), and lower among Japanese (0.78 (0.70–0.88)). These patterns were evident for all-cause mortality, although the magnitude of the disparity was larger for colorectal cancer mortality. Adjustment for stage accounted for the higher rate among Hispanic males and most of the lower rate among Japanese. Among Blacks, stage and SES accounted for about half of the higher rate relative to Whites, and within stage III colon and stages II/III rectal cancer, SES completely accounted for the small differentials in survival between Blacks and Whites. Comorbidity did not appear to explain the Black-White differentials in colorectal-specific nor all-cause mortality, beyond stage, and treatment (surgery, radiation, chemotherapy) explained a very small proportion of the Black-White difference. The fully-adjusted relative mortality rates comparing Blacks to Whites was 1.14 (1.09–1.20) for all-cause mortality and 1.21 (1.14–1.29) for colorectal cancer specific mortality. The sociodemographic, tumor, and treatment characteristics also had different impacts on mortality within racial/ethnic groups.
In this comprehensive analysis, race/ethnic-specific models revealed differential effects of covariates on survival after colorectal cancer within each group, suggesting that different strategies may be necessary to improve survival in each group. Among Blacks, half of the differential in survival after colorectal cancer was primarily attributable to stage and SES, but differences in survival between Blacks and Whites remain unexplained with the data available in this comprehensive, population-based, analysis.
PMCID: PMC2228311  PMID: 17939875

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