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There are wide disparities in cancer rates across different racial and ethnic groups, with exceedingly high stomach and liver cancer rates among Asian-Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders, a new study reports.

The rate of stomach and liver cancers among those groups is nearly double the rate among non-Hispanic white individuals, according to new research published Thursday in CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians. It’s estimated that there will be nearly 60,000 new cancer cases and 17,000 cancer deaths among these populations in 2016.


Death rates from cancer are much lower — nearly 40 percent — in these populations than in non-Hispanic whites, though. It’s not clear why, but differences in body weight, exercise habits, and alcohol consumption could potentially play a role. But in both populations, cancer death rates have been on the decline over the past two decades.

Here’s what else the report found:

  • Lung cancer rates are notably high among Chinese women in the United States and in Asia, which is puzzling, experts said, given the low prevalence of smoking in those populations.
  • Pap smears are less common among Asian-American women — just 71 percent reported having the test within the past three years, compared to 83 percent of non-Hispanic white women.
  • Just about half of Asian-Americans over age 50 reported getting their recommended colorectal cancer screenings in 2013. In comparison, 61 percent of non-Hispanic white people reported having the exam done.
  • Breast cancer screening rates are even across populations — about 70 percent of both Asian-American and non-Hispanic white women over age 45 reported having mammograms within the past two years.

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