FREMONT, Calif., March 19 (UPI) -- Distinct groups of Asian-Americans and those of Hawaiian and Pacific Islander ethnicity differ widely in death and disease rates, U.S. researchers found.
Study author Scarlett Lin Gomez of the Cancer Prevention Institute of California -- formerly the Northern California Cancer Center -- says Asian-born women in the United States, particularly women from Vietnam, China and the Philippines, have a much higher risk of dying from breast cancer than U.S.-born Asian-Americans.
For example, the highest-risk group, women born in Vietnam, had a four times greater risk of dying of breast cancer than U.S.-born Vietnamese. Previously, studies of breast cancer survival among Asian-Americans did not consider differences in Asian ethnicity or immigrant status, and therefore overlooked important factors that could lead to better cancer control, Gomez says.
"Information, not ignorance, must shape the health care agenda for our populations," Kathy Lim Ko, president of the Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum says in a statement. "Aggregated data across ethnic groups masks serious health problems. Cancer often goes unrecognized and undertreated."
Obesity is another health risk facing Hawaiians. Compared to whites in the state, those of Hawaiian ancestry are twice as likely to be obese -- 44.1 percent vs. 21.3 percent.
The findings are published in the American Journal of Public Health.