Cancer is the leading cause of death among Hispanics in the U.S.
Cancer is the leading cause of death among Hispanics in the U.S., accounting for 22 percent of deaths, according to the American Cancer Society. While Hispanics are less likely than non-Hispanic whites to be diagnosed with the most common cancers—lung, colorectal, breast, and prostate they have a higher risk for cancers associated with infectious agents, such as cancers of the liver, stomach, and cervix.
Cancer begins in your cells, which are the building blocks of your body. Normally, your body forms new cells as you need them, replacing old cells that die. Sometimes this process goes wrong. New cells grow even when you don’t need them, and old cells don’t die when they should. These extra cells can form a mass called a tumor. Tumors can be benign or malignant. Benign tumors aren’t cancer while malignant ones are. Cells from malignant tumors can invade nearby tissues. They can also break away and spread to other parts of the body.
Cancer is not just one disease but many diseases. There are more than 100 different types of cancer. Most cancers are named for where they start. For example, lung cancer starts in the lung, and breast cancer starts in the breast.
Cancer is caused by changes to the genes that control the way our cells function, especially how they grow and divide. Cancer happens when some of the body’s cells divide without stopping and spread into surrounding tissues.
Genetic changes that cause cancer can be inherited from our parents. These changes can also happen during a person’s lifetime as a result of errors when our cells divide or because of damage to DNA caused by certain environmental exposures. These include chemicals, such as those from tobacco smoke, and radiation, such as ultraviolet rays from the sun.
NIH’s National Cancer Institute (NCI) is the nation’s leader in cancer research. The Center to Reduce Cancer Health Disparities is central to NCI’s efforts to reduce the unequal burden of cancer in our society including cancer’s burden on the Hispanic/Latino population.
Leading Causes of Death Among Hispanics in the U.S.
• 22% Cáncer
• 20% Heart Disease
• 7% Accidents
• 5% Stroke
• 5% Diabetes
Sources: American Cancer Society;
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
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