BACKGROUND: The Hispanic/Latino population is the second largest racial/ethnic group in the continental United States and Hawaii, accounting for 18% (60.6 million) of the total population. An additional 3 million Hispanic Americans live in Puerto Rico. Every 3 years, the American Cancer Society reports on cancer occurrence, risk factors, and screening for Hispanic individuals in the United States using the most recent population-based data.
RESULTS: An estimated 176,600 new cancer cases and 46,500 cancer deaths will occur among Hispanic individuals in the continental United States and Hawaii in 2021. Compared to non-Hispanic Whites (NHWs), Hispanic men and women had 25%-30% lower incidence (2014-2018) and mortality (2015-2019) rates for all cancers combined and lower rates for the most common cancers, although this gap is diminishing. For example, the colorectal cancer (CRC) incidence rate ratio for Hispanic compared with NHW individuals narrowed from 0.75 (95% CI, 0.73-0.78) in 1995 to 0.91 (95% CI, 0.89-0.93) in 2018, reflecting delayed declines in CRC rates among Hispanic individuals in part because of slower uptake of screening. In contrast, Hispanic individuals have higher rates of infection-related cancers, including approximately two-fold higher incidence of liver and stomach cancer. Cervical cancer incidence is 32% higher among Hispanic women in the continental US and Hawaii and 78% higher among women in Puerto Rico compared to NHW women, yet is largely preventable through screening. Less access to care may be similarly reflected in the low prevalence of localized-stage breast cancer among Hispanic women, 59% versus 67% among NHW women.
CONCLUSION: Evidence-based strategies for decreasing the cancer burden among the Hispanic population include the use of culturally appropriate lay health advisors and patient navigators and targeted, community-based intervention programs to facilitate access to screening and promote healthy behaviors. In addition, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on cancer trends and disparities in the Hispanic population should be closely monitored.