How Race/Ethnicity Can Increase the Risk of Getting Cancer

There are several risk factors that can increase a person’s chance of developing cancer, and one of them is race/ethnicity. Statistics show us that certain racial groups are more likely to get some types of cancer than other groups are. It helps to understand these statistics, so that you can better determine your own personal risk. Below, RCCA explores some of the most common racial and ethnic disparities for cancer.

Breast Cancer Risks by Race/Ethnicity

Across the board, breast cancer is one of the most common types of cancer for women in the United States. However, according to 2011-2015 data reported by Susan G. Komen, incidence rates vary by racial group. White women are most likely to develop breast cancer, followed by black and Asian/Pacific Islander women. Hispanic and American Indian/Alaska Native women have the lowest incidence rates.

Even though white women are more likely to get breast cancer, black women are more likely to get more aggressive forms. They’re also more likely to be diagnosed at a younger age.

Lung Cancer Risks by Race/Ethnicity

Most cases of lung cancer are attributed to cigarette smoke and exposure to radon and other harmful substances. Overall, the population most likely to be diagnosed with lung cancer is African American men. One might think it’s because African Americans smoke more, but that is not the case. Research suggests that white men are actually more likely to be smokers and to smoke more often than black men.

Colon Cancer Risks by Race/Ethnicity

While weight, diet and exercise are more significant risk factors for developing colon cancer, race and ethnic background do have some influence. The American Cancer Society (ACS) suggests that in the United States, African Americans are more likely to develop colorectal cancer, and they are also more likely to die from it. However, if we look at colorectal cancer on a global scale, it’s Jews of Eastern European descent, also known as Ashkenazi Jews, that have the highest risk of colorectal cancer.

Prostate Cancer Risks by Race/Ethnicity

African American men are significantly more likely to be diagnosed with and die from prostate cancer than white men. In comparison, Asian-American and Hispanic/Latino men have a low risk. 

Understanding Cancer Risk Factors

Having cancer risk factors doesn’t mean you’re going to get cancer. It does mean, however, that you’re more likely to get it than other people. If you’re worried about your risk, schedule an appointment at RCCA today.