USC Study Examines Colorectal Cancer Risk Among Calif. Latinos
The University of Southern California has released a first-of-its-kind study finding that colorectal cancer risk among Californian Latinos varies depending on their country of origin, the Long Beach Press-Telegram reports.
About 14.7 million Latinos live in California, accounting for 38.4% of the state population, according to U.S. Census Bureau data.
Details of Report
Researchers used California Cancer Registry data to examine the profiles of residents who were diagnosed with colorectal cancer between 1995 and 2011, including:
- 36,133 Latinos; and
- 174,710 whites.
Researchers also identified Latinos by their country, region or commonwealth of origin, including:
- Central America;
- Puerto Rico;
- South America; or
- Not specified.
According to the study, Latinos from Mexico have the lowest colorectal cancer risk compared with other Latino subgroups.
Latinos from Cuba who had colorectal cancer had the highest proportion of deaths from the disease, at 63%.
Meanwhile, Latinos from Mexico also had a higher percentage of rectal cancer than other Latino subgroups (Long Beach Press-Telegram, 12/15).
In a release, lead study author Mariana Stern, a cancer epidemiologist and associate professor of preventive medicine at USC's Keck School of Medicine, said, "Nowadays, most of the information we have on the molecular characteristics of colorectal cancer comes from the white population. There is little information specific to Latinos. Plus, they are typically clumped as a group" (USC release, 12/14).
"Hispanics are a very heterogeneous population, which is not really recognized in most cancer studies." Stern said, adding, "Their risk factors might be different; their clinical characteristics could be different. We have to zoom into these observations and understand these disparities because they may affect how patients are educated about the disease and how they are treated by doctors" (Long Beach Press-Telegram, 12/15).
Senior study author Lihua Liu, an assistant professor of clinical preventive medicine at Keck, said, "Maybe the biology of people from Mexico protects them from developing colorectal cancer. This has been reported for breast cancer," adding, "The heterogeneity of Latino populations presents a unique opportunity to disentangle the complex role of socio-demographics, culture, lifestyle and genetics as potential determinants of colorectal cancer risk among Latinos and other populations" (USC release, 12/14).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.