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Living in U.S. Raises Cancer Risk for Hispanics

Study Shows Cancer Rates Rise for Hispanics After They Move to U.S.

Heritage Protects Hispanics

The researchers' finding "confirms some trends we've been seeing in the last few years -- that different U.S. Hispanic populations groups, such as Cubans, Mexicans, and Puerto Ricans, have higher incidence rates of certain cancers than they do in their homelands,"  says Amelie G. Ramirez, DrPH, director of the Institute for Health Promotion and Research and co-associate director of the Cancer Prevention and Population Studies Research Program at the Cancer Therapy & Research Center (CTRC) at the University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio.

"They also tend to have worse cancer outcomes due to less access to health care and late diagnosis," Ramirez says in a prepared statement.

The study also reflects the reality that Hispanics are not a single ethnic group, but represent several population groups, she says.

Ramirez and Pinheiro agree more research focusing on the Hispanic populations is crucial. About one in three people in the U.S. will be Hispanic by 2050, according to Ramirez.  And research is lacking.

Hispanic people who immigrated here, Pinheiro says, should realize that their heritage "can be an advantage if they are able to maintain the protective lifestyle that protects them from cancer."

That probably includes a diet that's not rich in red meat, which has been linked with colorectal cancer, he says, and eating meals prepared at home instead of getting fast food.

Ramirez tells WebMD: "Hispanic patients, no matter what Hispanic population group they belong to, should fully describe their heritage, family history, and health behaviors to their physician or medial professional." That information, she says, will help the health care provider take the patient's background into account to provide the best health care.

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