GET STARTED
1
Request Info
2
Visit
3
Apply
GET STARTED
1
Request Info
2
Visit
3
Apply

Hispanics in South Florida Have Higher Mortality Rates for Most Cancers Than Their National Counterparts, Study Finds

A study published in Preventing Chronic Disease, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention journal, showed that Hispanics in South Florida have higher cancer death rates than their national counterparts. The study was co-authored by researchers at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine’s Department of Public Health Sciences and Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, as well as from the University of Nevada in Las Vegas and Florida A&M University.

South Florida has more than 6 million residents and it comprises nearly one-third of Florida’s total population. From 2012 to 2016, data from the Florida Department of Health Vital Statistics showed that there were 53,837 cancer deaths in the area.

Demographic data also show that it is a gateway to Latin America and the Caribbean – 44 percent of residents are Hispanic, 32 are white, and 21 are black. Cubans are the largest Hispanic group in the area and around 33 percent of its black residents are Afro-Caribbean, specifically from Haiti and Jamaica.

"Each part of the United States has become very particular in terms of the composition of minorities. The Hispanic population throughout the nation are primarily Mexican, but the group that is really doing worse in comparison to the rest of the nation are Hispanics who are from Cuba. Prevention and cancer control measures should be targeted to each of these culturally-specific groups,” said Paulo Pinheiro, Ph.D., associate professor at the Miller School of Medicine's Department of Public Health Sciences. 

Researchers used five-year data from the Florida Department of Health Vital Statistics on cancer-mortality in the Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties. They focused on white, Hispanic, and black populations from Cuban, Puerto Rican, South American, African American, and Afro-Caribbean backgrounds.

They analyzed the common causes of cancer deaths, which were lung, breast, prostate, colorectum, pancreas, endometrium, ovary and liver cancers. The data showed that cancers with high mortality rates among Hispanic and black populations were cervical, stomach and multiple myeloma, as well as deaths from all types of cancers. 

For direct comparison with South Florida estimates, national cancer mortality rates for 2012 through 2014 were obtained from Centers for Disease Control.

Per 100,000 population, cancer mortality rates in South Florida were similar among white and black men and women. Rates were the lowest among Hispanic men and women. But in comparison to their national counterparts, researchers noticed the higher mortality rates for Hispanics with Cuban backgrounds. 

Also at a national comparison, mortality rates among white and black residents, especially male residents, were substantially lower. Liver cancer was higher among white and Puerto Rican baby boomers and lung cancer deaths were lower among all groups except for Cuban men. Cervical cancer was higher among white, black and Puerto Rican women.

Given the results of this study, surveillance, minority participation in clinical trials and community-based, culturally-specific cancer prevention and control efforts are needed.

Written by Amanda Torres
Published on August 14, 2019