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Cancer. 1994 Feb 15;73(4):1270-5.

Cancer mortality in Chinese immigrants to New York City. Comparison with Chinese in Tianjin and with United States-born whites.

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Division of Epidemiology, American Health Foundation, New York, New York 10017.



Cancer rates in immigrant populations are frequently found to be intermediate between the country of origin and the adopted country. Such observations play an important role in establishing the environmental origin of cancer. Chinese now constitute the third largest group immigrating to New York City.


Cancer deaths in New York City (1986-90) among 706 male and 412 female foreign-born Chinese were compared using proportional cancer mortality ratios (PCMR) with Chinese who died of cancer in Tianjin, China (19,461 deaths, 1983-87), and with United States-born whites in New York City (32,293 deaths).


Cancer sites were divided into those for which the age-adjusted PCMR were significantly higher in Tianjin Chinese (TC) compared with New York City whites (NYW), and those for which PCMR were significantly lower in TC compared with NYW. PCMR for Chinese immigrants usually fell between those of TC and NYW, but some were closer to those of TC (e.g., liver, gallbladder, female lung) whereas other sites were closer to those of NYW (e.g., esophagus, colon, rectum).


These data provide additional support for the concept that much cancer originates with and can be modified by environmental factors.

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