Cancer incidence among Asian American populations in the United States, 2009-2011

Document Type



Cancer incidence disparities exist among specific Asian American populations. However, the existing reports exclude data from large metropoles like Chicago, Houston and New York. Moreover, incidence rates by subgroup have been underestimated due to the exclusion of Asians with unknown subgroup. Cancer incidence data for 2009 to 2011 for eight states accounting for 68% of the Asian American population were analyzed. Race for cases with unknown subgroup was imputed using stratified proportion models by sex, age, cancer site and geographic regions. Age-standardized incidence rates were calculated for 17 cancer sites for the six largest Asian subgroups. Our analysis comprised 90,709 Asian and 1,327,727 non-Hispanic white cancer cases. Asian Americans had significantly lower overall cancer incidence rates than non-Hispanic whites (336.5 per 100,000 and 541.9 for men, 299.6 and 449.3 for women, respectively). Among specific Asian subgroups, Filipino men (377.4) and Japanese women (342.7) had the highest overall incidence rates while South Asian men (297.7) and Korean women (275.9) had the lowest. In comparison to non-Hispanic whites and other Asian subgroups, significantly higher risks were observed for colorectal cancer among Japanese, stomach cancer among Koreans, nasopharyngeal cancer among Chinese, thyroid cancer among Filipinos, and liver cancer among Vietnamese. South Asians had remarkably low lung cancer risk. Overall, Asian Americans have a lower cancer risk than non-Hispanic whites, except for nasopharyngeal, liver and stomach cancers. The unique portrayal of cancer incidence patterns among specific Asian subgroups in this study provides a new baseline for future cancer surveillance research and health policy.