Cancer among Asian Indians/Pakistanis living in the United States: low incidence and generally above average survival.

Research paper by William B WB Goggins, Grace G Wong

Indexed on: 11 Dec '08Published on: 11 Dec '08Published in: Cancer Causes & Control


South Asian immigrants living in the United Kingdom and Canada have been found to have lower rates of cancers of all types compared with the native born population and most other immigrant groups. Cancer among Asian Indian/Pakistani people in the United States has been studied very little.Incidence rates for all cancers combined and site-specific rates for major cancers were estimated for Asian Indians/Pakistani population using incidence data from the U.S. National Cancer Institutes SEER database and population data from the U.S. Census Bureau. Site-specific survival was compared for major cancer sites between Asian Indians/Pakistanis and Caucasians using Cox proportional hazards models.Cancer rates for Asian Indian/Pakistani males and females were considerably lower than for White Americans with standardized incidence ratios (SIRs) of 0.46 (95% CI = 0.44, 0.48), and 0.55 (95% CI = 0.53, 0.58) respectively. Site-specific rates were lower for both genders for most sites with particularly low rates observed for lung, colorectal, female breast, and prostate cancer. Among common cancers sites, survival was generally better among Asian Indians/Pakistanis than Caucasians with the notable exception of breast cancer for which Caucasians had slightly better survival.The finding that Asian Indians/Pakistanis in the United States have relatively low incidence rates for most major cancers is consistent with studies from other countries. Whether the low incidence of cancer and above average cancer survival for this group is related to their well-above average socioeconomic status or cultural and behavioral factors is a topic for further research.