NORTHWEST ASIAN WEEKLY
A study published earlier this month reveals that Asian American women have seen an increase in breast cancer diagnosis over the past 15 years — although Japanese women were exempt from this.
The study focused on the seven major Asian populations that migrated to the United States — Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Filipino, Vietnamese, South Asians (Asian Indians and Pakistanis), and Southeast Asians (Cambodians, Laotians, Hmong, Thai).
Researchers from the Cancer Prevention Institute in California (CPIC) examined the prevalence of cancer incidences by age and stage among Asian American women in the San Francisco Bay Area, from 1988 to 2013.
They found, in that time period, 45,721 invasive breast cancer cases were identified in their chosen population.
The research found that the largest increase of breast cancer incidences occurred in Korean, South Asian, and Southeast Asian women. As for the exemption of Japanese women, it seems the lack of increase has to do with the group having already experienced the spike earlier.
“[South Asian, Vietnamese, and Southeast Asians] also happen to be the most recently immigrated groups … Their patterns are mirroring what we saw for Japanese Americans back in the 1970s and 1980s,” said lead researcher Scarlett Lin Gomez.
Asian American women may also be prone to a more aggressive type of breast cancer than other racial groups, the CPIC study found.
The cancer subtype caused by the HER2-Neu protein affected women of Filipino, Vietnamese, and Korean descent more than non-Hispanic white women.
While the study didn’t look into the reasons behind the increase in breast cancer among AAPI women, researchers said that the data points to the importance of more breast cancer support for Asian American women.
“These patterns warrant additional attention to public health prioritization to target disparities in access to care, as well as further research in identifying relevant breast cancer risk factors for specific breast cancer subtypes,” Gomez said.
She added that further study should be done to investigate risk factor and early life exposures, with attention to the genetic susceptibility of Filipino and Japanese women.
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