Cancer Burden in California
Despite improvements in incidence and mortality rates, almost 1 out of every 2 Californians born today will develop cancer at some point in their lives, and nearly 1 in 5 Californians will die of the disease. Unfortunately, the cancer burden is not borne equally by all racial/ethnic groups.
This chapter highlights some of the cancer burdens in California, including a description of the leading causes of cancer diagnoses and deaths, the distribution, and disparities of the disease among racial/ethnic groups, the disease's impact among children, and survival rates for selected cancer sites.
Cancer Disparities among Major Racial/Ethnic and Asian Ethnic Groups
The burden of cancer affects Californians disproportionately, with the risk of developing cancer varying by race/ethnicity.
Among both males and females, non-Hispanic whites have the highest cancer incidence, followed by non-Hispanic blacks, Hispanics, and Asian and Pacific Islanders.
Overall, those who are of Asian and Pacific Islander and Hispanic origin show cancer incidence rates ranging from 30 to 40% lower than those of non-Hispanic whites. However, incidence rates for liver and stomach cancers among Asian and Pacific Islanders and Hispanics are 60% higher than those for non-Hispanic whites.
Hispanic females also have a 29% higher incidence rate of invasive cervical cancer compared to non-Hispanic white females.
Non-Hispanic blacks have the highest cancer mortality among males and females, followed by non-Hispanic whites, Hispanics, and Asian and Pacific Islanders.
The mortality rate for colorectal cancer among non-Hispanic blacks is 50% higher than the rate for Asian and Pacific Islanders and 39% higher than the rates for non-Hispanic whites and Hispanics.
Cancer Disparities among American Indian/Alaskan Natives
Among both males and females, age-adjusted rates from 2013 to 2017 showed that American Indian/Alaskan Natives have the second-highest cancer incidence after non-Hispanic whites. The overall incidence rate for cancer among American Indian/ Alaskan Native males compared to American Indian/ Alaskan Native females is similar (431.4 per 100,000 versus 427.4 per 100,000, respectively).
Prostate, lung, and colorectal cancers are the top three most common cancers diagnosed among American Indian/Alaskan Native males. In contrast, breast, lung, and colorectal cancers are the top three most common cancers diagnosed among American Indian/ Alaskan Native females.
Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related death among American Indian/ Alaskan Native males and females. Liver, colorectal, and pancreatic cancers rank among the top five common cancer-related deaths among male and female American Indian/ Alaskan Natives.
Among children across the U.S., overall cancer incidence rates increased an average of 0.8% per year from 2012 to 2016. The most common cancer types among children were leukemia, brain and other nervous system cancers, and lymphoma, with increasing incidence trends for each of these cancers during 2012 to 2016. Among adolescents and young adults, overall cancer incidence rates increased an average of 0.9% per year from 2012 to 2016.
According to the incidence rates and counts of the International Classification for Childhood Cancer (ICCC) groups among children 0 to 19 years of age in California:
In the last decade, over 1,700 children and young adults under the age of 20 were diagnosed with cancer each year. Among these, over two-thirds are between 0 to 14 years of age.
The top three most common types of cancer diagnosed in children under the age of 1 are leukemias, followed by neuroblastoma, and central nervous system (CNS) tumors.
Leukemia is the most common cancer among children between 1 and 14 years of age, followed by CNS tumors and lymphomas.
Among children and young adults between 15 and 19 years of age, the top three most diagnosed cancers are other malignant epithelial neoplasms and melanomas, closely followed by lymphomas and leukemias.