Study: Asian-Americans have unique cancer patterns

Whether born here or newly-arrived in the U.S., Asian-Americans have distinctive patterns of cancer incidence that doctors should be aware of when treating this population, new research says. According to a study appearing in the journal CA, published by the American Cancer Society, cancer is a major cause of death for Asians, killing more of them than heart disease.

While Asians who have spent a long time in the United States are more prone to cancers common to the American-born population, others are more likely to suffer from cancers typical of their native countries, like stomach and liver cancer. One particularly unusual finding was that Vietnamese men have incidence and death rates from liver cancer a whopping seven times the rate of non-Hispanic Caucasian men. Meanwhile, Korean men and women are five to seven times more likely as Caucasians to develop stomach cancer.

Researchers say this is due, in part, to higher rates of hepatitis B virus in Asia, which can contribute to the higher rates of liver cancer episodes. The increase in stomach cancers can often by attributed to Helicobacter pylori bacteria infections, common in developing countries, which can be treated with antibiotics.

To find out more about the research:
- read this New York Times piece
- read the American Cancer Society report

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