According to a report conducted by the American Cancer Society, death rates due to cancer vary among Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders (AANHPIs), with Chinese women, in particular, being more susceptible to lung cancer compared to other subgroups.
The research, published in CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians and in Cancer Facts & Figures 2016, revealed that lung cancer rates among Chinese women are high despite smoking being less prevalent in that group. The causes are unknown but some possible factors may include secondhand smoke, genetic susceptibility or exposure to oils cooked at elevated heat levels.
“The variations we see in cancer rates in AANHPIs are related to risk factors, including lifestyle factors, use of screening and preventive services, and exposure to cancer-causing infections,” Lindsey Torre, co-author of the report, said in a press release. “Cancer-control strategies among this population include improved use of vaccination and screening; interventions to increase physical activity and reduce excess body weight, tobacco use, and alcohol consumption; and research to get a more detailed understanding of differences in the cancer burden and risk factors between subgroups.”
According to a Hawaii Society of Clinical Oncology report, "Understanding and Improving Lung Cancer Treatment in Asian Americans & Pacific Islanders," lung cancer is 18 percent higher among Americans of Southeast Asian origin when compared to Caucasian Americans. Meanwhile, Vietnamese individuals had the highest rates of lung cancer among all the Asian American groups.
The reports suggests that fatal cases may be caused by limited access to health care within Asian-American communities, with patients having their first encounter with a doctor after going to an emergency room with severe symptoms. By this time, without previous screening tests, there would be a higher chance of being diagnosed with advanced lung cancer.
American Cancer Society reports that three leading causes of cancer deaths in Asian American women are lung, breast and colorectal; the three leading cancer deaths in Asian American men are from lung, liver and colorectal cancers.
Cancer death rates, collectively, have decreased among AANHPIs since 1992.