[ Back to EurekAlert! ] Public release date: 30-Sep-2013
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Contact: Molly Dannenmaier
mjdannen@utmb.edu
409-772-8790
University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston

Cancer biggest killer of Hispanic Texans

More Hispanic Texans die from cancer than any other cause, according to a new report by the Comparative Effectiveness Research on Cancer in Texas research group.

The report documents cancer as the leading cause of death among Hispanic Texans under the age of 76. Only three percent of Hispanic Texans are older than 75.

Texas's Hispanic population has more than doubled since 1990. Texans of Hispanic ethnicity now comprise 38 percent of the state's population.

The findings are published in a September 2013 special issue of the Texas Public Health Journal, available online at http://txcercit.org/.

Based on data from the Texas Cancer Registry, Medicare claims records and state vital statistics, researchers compared rates and trends for cancer in Hispanics to those for non-Hispanic whites in Texas. Key findings include:

These findings were based on 10 years of data about the diagnoses of new cancer cases and 21 years of data about cancer deaths.

The CERCIT researchers noted one puzzling contradiction. Even though cancers tend to be more advanced when diagnosed in Hispanics, death rates were lower than in the white population. This phenomenon, known as the Hispanic Paradox, has been noted before by other researchers looking at disease and survival rates across the spectrum. Hispanic Americans tend to survive illness and live longer than white Americans with the same diseases even though the Hispanics have less education, income and access to health care.

Foreign-born Hispanics had lower mortality rates than those born in the United States, according to analyses of regional differences within the state.

The multidisciplinary consortium of CERCIT investigators works on issues related to cancer screening, cancer treatment, post-treatment surveillance and supportive care for cancer patients and survivors. CERCIT is funded by the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas.

The CERCIT project is led by principal investigator Dr. James S. Goodwin of University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston and co-principal investigator Dr. Linda S. Elting of the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. Other project and core lead investigators include Drs. Catherine D. Cooksley, Anthony DiNuzzo, Karl Eschbach, Jean Freeman and Taylor S. Riall of UTMB; Dr. Sharon H. Giordano of MDA; Dr. Vivian Ho of Rice University and Dr. Melanie Williams of the Texas Cancer Registry.

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ABOUT UTMB HEALTH: Texas' first academic health center opened its doors in 1891 and today comprises four health sciences schools, three institutes for advanced study, a research enterprise that includes one of only two national laboratories dedicated to the safe study of infectious threats to human health, and a health system offering a full range of primary and specialized medical services throughout Galveston County and the Texas Gulf Coast region. UTMB Health is a component of the University of Texas System and a member of the Texas Medical Center.



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