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Cancer. 1997 Jul 1;80(1):129-35.

Influence of nativity on cancer mortality among black New Yorkers.

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Department of Epidemiology and Social Medicine, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, New York 10461, USA.



Cancer is the second leading cause of death in U. S., and blacks have higher cancer death rates than whites. The authors conducted an analysis to determine the influence of birthplace on cancer mortality among blacks in New York City.


Death records for New York City from 1988 through 1992 were linked to the 1990 U. S. Census data. Age-adjusted cancer death rates by race and birthplace were computed. The experience of black residents born in the South and Northeast of the U. S. and in Caribbean countries were compared with that of New York City whites.


The cancer mortality rate of blacks exceeded that of whites for males (512.6 vs. 385.6 per 100,000 per year), but was similar for females (270.8 vs. 270.6). However, cancer death rates of Southern-born black males (615.7) were substantially higher than those of black males born in the Northeast (419.1) or the Caribbean (352.4). Carcinomas of the lung, prostate, breast, and colon/rectum accounted for >50% of all cancer deaths. Lung carcinoma mortality varied greatly by birthplace, with Caribbean-born blacks (63.5 and 19.2 for males and females, respectively) having approximately one-third the death rates of Southern-born blacks (187.8 and 52.5 for males and females, respectively), and <50% that of New York City whites (108.7 and 53.2 for males and females, respectively). These differences were present in each age category, but were most pronounced among those age 45-64 years. In striking contrast, death rates from prostate carcinoma were highest in Caribbean-born black men, and this was especially apparent in persons age > or = 65 years.


The generally higher cancer mortality of blacks compared with whites masks even greater intraracial heterogeneity revealed through stratification by birthplace. In general, Caribbean-born blacks are at lower risk of cancer mortality than other blacks, and whites, but their advantage does not hold for prostate carcinoma, for which Caribbean-born men had the highest mortality rate.

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