While cervical cancer screening and risk behaviors have been found to vary among U.S.- and foreign-born Hispanic women, many cancer epidemiology studies have conceptualized Hispanics as a homogenous group. Here we examine differences in cervical cancer stage at diagnosis and survival among Hispanic women by nativity.
We use data from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) program, 1998–2008. Nativity was based on place of birth and was categorized as U.S.- versus foreign-born. Distant and regional tumors were classified as late-stage, while local tumors were classified as early-stage.
Forty seven percent of cases of invasive cervical cancer among Hispanics were diagnosed at a late stage and over half of invasive cervical cancer cases were among foreign-born women. Foreign-born Hispanic women were significantly more likely than U.S.-born Hispanics to have late-stage diagnosis, after adjusting for age at diagnosis and tumor histology (adjusted odds ration= 1.09, p-value = 0.003). There was heterogeneity in the association between nativity and survival by stage at diagnosis. Among cases with early-stage diagnosis, survival was poorer among foreign-born versus U.S.-born Hispanics after adjusting for age at diagnosis, histology, and cancer-directed therapy (adjusted HR = 1.31, p-value = 0.030). However, among cases with late-stage diagnosis, survival was better among foreign--born Hispanics (adjusted HR = 0.81, p-value < 0.001).
We hypothesize that nativity differences in survival may be indicative of diverse risk, screening, and treatment profiles. Given such differences, it may be inappropriate to aggregate Hispanics as a single group for cervical cancer research.