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CA Cancer J Clin. 2012 Nov-Dec;62(6):353-63. doi: 10.3322/caac.21155. Epub 2012 Sep 17.

Cancer-related risk factors and preventive measures in US Hispanics/Latinos.

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  • 1American Cancer Society, Atlanta, GA, USA.


In this article, we provide prevalence data on major cancer-related risk factors, early detection testing, and vaccination among Hispanics using nationally representative surveys. Compared with non-Hispanic whites, Hispanic adults are less likely to be current smokers (13% vs 22%) or frequent alcohol drinkers, but they are more likely to be obese (32% vs 26%) and to have lower levels of mammography use within the past year (46% vs 51%), colorectal screening as per recommended intervals (47% vs 61%), and Papanicolaou (Pap) test use within the past 3 years (74% vs 79%). Within the Hispanic population, the prevalence of these risk factors and early detection methods substantially vary by country of origin. For example, Cuban men (20.7%) and Puerto Rican men (19%) had the highest levels of current smoking than any other Hispanic subgroups, while Mexican women had the lowest levels of mammogram use (44%) and Pap test use (71%). Hispanic migrants have a higher prevalence of hepatitis B virus and Helicobacter pylori, which cause liver and stomach cancer, respectively. Among Hispanic adolescents, tobacco use (eg, 20.8% use of any tobacco products), alcohol use (42.9%), and obesity (23.2%) remain highly prevalent risk factors. Although 56% of Hispanic adolescents initiate human papillomavirus vaccination, only 56% of them completed the 3-dose series. Differences in risk factors and early detection testing among Hispanic groups should be considered in clinical settings and for cancer control planning.

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