Native Hawaiians, Other Native Pacific Islanders Have Higher Cancer Rates Than Whites, Study Finds
Native Hawaiians, Maoris and Polynesians have higher rates of breast, stomach, cervical and lung cancer than whites, according to a study published in the May issue of The Lancet Oncology, the Honolulu Advertiser reports. The study examined the number of cancer cases, and survival and death rates among Polynesian populations in Hawaii, Easter Island and New Zealand, the Advertiser reports.
Breast, stomach and lung cancer deaths occurred in Native Hawaiian men at a rate of 145 per 100,000 deaths, compared with 117 per 100,000 deaths in white men, the study found. Among Native Hawaiian women, 123 per 100,000 deaths were from breast, stomach, cervical or lung cancer, compared with 82 per 100,000 deaths for white women. Researchers also found that 34% of Native Hawaiian men smoked, compared with 23% of white men, and that 28% of Native Hawaiian women smoked, compared with 16% of white women.
Loic Le Marchand, director of the epidemiology program of the University of Hawaii Cancer Research Center of Hawaii and a contributor to the report, said the disparities can be attributed to socioeconomic factors and "biological, genetic reasons." He said, "It's well-known that Native Hawaiians have higher rates of cancer," adding that researchers "want to improve cancer cures, and screening and health education to reduce smoking" among the groups. "For all Polynesians, especially in New Zealand and different Polynesian islands, we're trying to stress the need for improving the data collection for smaller countries, which usually don't have cancer registries," Marchand said (Honolulu Advertiser, 5/2).
The study is available online.