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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

UMiami: Liver Cancer Leading Cause of Cancer Death Among Mexican American Males in the United States, Researchers Find

Liver cancer – mostly caused by hepatitis C (HCV) – is one of the most fatal and rapidly-increasing cancers in the United States.

“If there are 100 people that are diagnosed with liver cancer, only 17 survive in five years,” said Dr. Paulo S. Pinheiro,, the lead author of a study published in JHEP Reports, a brand new hepatology journal sponsored by the prestigious European Association of Liver Disease. The study found that liver cancer is a major cause of death among all U.S. male groups and that it is also the leading cause of cancer death in Mexican American men. The terminology “Mexican American” refers to U.S.-born Mexicans, as opposed to foreign-born Mexicans, regardless of actual nationality.

Dr. Pinheiro, who is a professor of public health at the Miller School of Medicine, and his research team focused on cancer patterns for 15 U.S. populations, such as from those with White, Black, Hispanic, and Asian backgrounds. They also analyzed 29,470 death rates on people born between 1945 to 1965, for whom the prevalence of HCV is particularly high. Researchers also included data on people born before 1945, as well as those who died within 2012 to 2016 in the states of California, Florida and New York.

Patterns showed that the total liver cancer death rates for Mexican American, Korean, and Vietnamese male and females were the highest when compared with other races and ethnicities. Mexican American males had a mortality rate of 23 per 100,000 people compared to a 7.3 rate in females. Vietnamese male and females had the highest death rates, with a rate of 26 for males and 8.2 for females.

“These results highlight differences for liver cancer by race-ethnicity, and the absolute need for more HCV screening in high-risk populations,” said Dr. Pinheiro.

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