Comparing the Incidence of Buccal Mucosa Cancer in South Asian, White, and Black Populations Residing in the United States: A Cross-Sectional Analysis

Document Type : Research Articles


1 Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey, Department of Radiation Oncology, New Brunswick, NJ, USA.

2 The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center, Columbus, OH, USA.

3 Rutgers School of Public Health, Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, Piscataway, NJ, USA.


Background: Recreational use of the betel nut, which is common among the South Asian population, is a known risk factor for developing Head and Neck cancer. As South Asians comprise a significant proportion of the United States population, we seek to determine if those living within the country experience a higher rate of head and neck cancers compared to other races. Methods: Data of patients diagnosed with head & neck cancers from 2010-2016 was collected from the National Cancer Database® and compared to race-matched US census data for each corresponding year to calculate incidence. Pairwise comparisons were performed between the incidence for South Asians versus Whites and South Asians versus Blacks using one sided Chi-square tests. Results: South Asians experienced a significantly higher incidence of buccal mucosa/vestibule cancers when compared to Whites or Blacks for every year between 2010-2016, but a comparatively lower incidence of larynx or oropharynx cancers. Conclusions: South Asians residing within the United States have a higher incidence of buccal mucosa/vestibule cancers, but a lower incidence of more common cancers, such as larynx or oropharynx cancer. This may suggest that the etiology behind the high buccal mucosa/vestibule cancer incidence is due to a social habit, as opposed to an inherent racial susceptibility.


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