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Cancer Causes Control. 2011 Mar;22(3):479-85. doi: 10.1007/s10552-010-9720-5. Epub 2011 Jan 5.

Papillary thyroid cancer incidence rates vary significantly by birthplace in Asian American women.

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Cancer Prevention Institute of California, 2201 Walnut Ave., Suite 300, Fremont, CA 94538, USA.



To investigate how birthplace influences the incidence of papillary thyroid cancer among Asian American women.


Birthplace- and ethnic-specific age-adjusted and age-specific incidence rates were calculated using data from the California Cancer Registry for the period 1988-2004. Birthplace was statistically imputed for 30% of cases using a validated imputation method based on age at Social Security number issuance. Population estimates were obtained from the US Census. Incidence rate ratios (IRR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were estimated for foreign-born vs. US-born women.


Age-adjusted incidence rates of papillary thyroid cancer among Filipina (13.7 per 100,000) and Vietnamese (12.7) women were more than double those of Japanese women (6.2). US-born Chinese (IRR = 0.48, 95% CI: 0.40-0.59) and Filipina women (IRR = 0.74, 95% CI: 0.58-0.96) had significantly higher rates than those who were foreign-born; the opposite was observed for Japanese women (IRR = 1.55, 95% CI: 1.17-2.08). The age-specific patterns among all foreign-born Asian women and US-born Japanese women showed a slow steady increase in incidence until age 70. However, among US-born Asian women (except Japanese), substantially elevated incidence rates during the reproductive and menopausal years were evident.


Ethnic- and birthplace-variation in papillary thyroid cancer incidence can provide insight into the etiology of this increasingly common and understudied cancer.

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