Cancer Incidence in the Middle Eastern Population of California , 1988-2004


International statistics suggest lower cancer incidence in the Middle East and Middle Eastern (ME) immigrantsin Europe, Australia, and Canada, but little is known from the United States. This study compares cancer ratesin ME population with other race/ethnic groups in California from 1988 through 2004. ME cases in Californiacancer registry were identified by surname and ME population was estimated from U.S. Census data. Cancerrates for ME countries was obtained from Globocan. The ME incidence rate ratios for all sites combined in maleand female were 0.77 and 0.82, respectively and were statistically significant. ME rates were significantly lowerfor cancers of the colon, lung, skin melanoma, female breast and prostate, and were significantly higher forcancers of the stomach, liver, thyroid, leukemia, and male breast. Cancer incidence in ME population in Californiawas 2.4 times higher than rates in home countries. Incidence trends in ME males remained fairly stable but infemales shows a slight decline in recent years. Cancer incidence in ME population is lower than non-Hispanicwhite and non-Hispanic Black, but is higher than rates for Hispanics and Asians, and ME countries. Improveddata quality, chronic infections, acculturation, and access to screening services are some of the factors responsiblefor the observed patterns.