Top 10 Cancers Diagnosed in Pennsylvania’s Latinos

Top 10 Cancers Diagnosed in Pennsylvania’s Latinos

By Dr. Oralia Garcia Dominic, Ph.D., M.A., M.S.

Have you ever wondered which types of cancers are the most common diagnosed in Latinos/Hispanics? A recent 2016 Pennsylvania Latino/Hispanic Cancer Burden Report answers this question.


The report was created to provide information about cancer incidence in Pennsylvania’s Latino/Hispanic population. Cancer incidence means how many people get a particular type of cancer. It is often written as the number of cancer cases per 100,000 people in the general population.


Latino/Hispanic Population Growth, Pennsylvania 1990-2014

Today, Pennsylvania has 12.7 million people. Of these, 6.5 percent are Latinos (850,000) – over three times that of 1990.


The report shows that, over the past 24 years, Latino population growth is increasing over time and may reach one million within the next few years. Some counties experienced over seven times the population growth and have more Latinos than others.


What type of cancer are the most common diagnosed in

The report shows that colorectal, breast, prostate and non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma were the primary cancer types diagnosed in Pennsylvania’s Latino population during 2002-2009, 2013-2015 and continue to present. These make up over 50 percent of the total cancer incidence for the Latino population in Pa.


There are also significant increases for liver cancer in Latinos. Among Latino males, the leading sites for cancer incidence were prostate, lung/bronchus and colorectal. Among Latino females, the leading sites were breast, colorectal and lung/bronchus. Off note, liver cancer was the fourth leading site for Latino males, and kidney/renal pelvis cancer was the fourth leading cancer site for Latino females.



Late-stage diagnosis – harder to treat

Cancer is always referred to a by the stage it was given at diagnosis.
The common stages are stage I, II, III and IV. Stage I is the easiest to treat.


The report shows that there are more late-stage diagnoses of cancers in 2013 (today) compared to 2002 for the general population. We also see that Latinos have more late-stage diagnoses than non-Latinos. Late-stage diagnoses are more difficult to treat.  Early detection of cancer improves survivorship.


Of particular concern is screening and early detection because over 40 percent of cancers are diagnosed at late-stage, and the leading sites for cancers identified have screening options. Talk with your doctor about ways to lower your cancer risk and get screened.



Two Penn State cancer researchers (myself and E. Lengerich) and one statistician (G. Miller) authored the report using common data sources (Pennsylvania Cancer Registry and Pennsylvania State Data Center at Penn State Harrisburg and U.S. Bureau of Census).


For the first time, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has a report called “Latino/Hispanic Cancer Burden Pennsylvania 2016.” This report is an effort to address the cancer burden statewide. Many of these efforts focus on achieving better health, health care and to reduce disparities for Latinos and non-Latinos in Pennsylvania. The report is also currently being used by health care professionals and legislators to help inform and set cancer-related health priorities and health policy in Pennsylvania.


You can use this report as well.  For a free copy, contact me at You can also download a copy at


Remember, it is important to talk to your doctor about ways to lower your cancer risk and get screened. Send your health questions to  Together we can help keep Pennsylvania residents healthy.  ¡Salud!

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