Breast Cancer Rates Increasing in Asian-American Women

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Researchers found that HER2-positive breast cancer was more common among Korean, Filipino, Vietnamese, and Chinese women than among white women.
Researchers found that HER2-positive breast cancer was more common among Korean, Filipino, Vietnamese, and Chinese women than among white women.

(HealthDay News) -- Breast cancer rates among Asian-Americans are steadily rising in contrast to other racial/ethnic groups, according to a study published online April 1 in Breast Cancer Research and Treatment.

Researchers from the Cancer Prevention Institute of California in Fremont reviewed data from 1988 to 2013 on breast cancer among women in California from seven Asian ethnic groups. These included Chinese, Japanese, Koreans, Filipinos, Vietnamese, South Asians (Asian Indians and Pakistanis), and Southeast Asians (Cambodians, Laotians, Hmong, Thai).

During the study period, all of these groups -- except Japanese women -- had an overall increase in breast cancer incidence. The largest increases were among Koreans, South Asians, and Southeast Asians. Among women over age 50, there were increases in all Asian-American ethnic groups. In women under 50, there were large increases among Vietnamese and other Southeast Asian groups. Breast cancer rates among Asian-American women as a whole were lower than among white women. But the rates among Japanese and Filipino women younger than 50 were similar to rates for white women of the same age. The researchers also found that human epidermal growth factor receptor 2-positive breast cancer was more common among Korean, Filipino, Vietnamese, and Chinese women than among white women.

"These patterns warrant additional attention to public health prioritization to target disparities in access to care, as well as further research in identifying relevant breast cancer risk factors for specific breast cancer subtypes," lead researcher Scarlett Lin Gomez, Ph.D., M.P.H., said in an institute news release.

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