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Native Hawaiians and Japanese Americans face greater risks of pancreatic cancer, study finds

  • COURTESY UH CANCER CENTER

    Loic Le Marchand

Native Hawaiians and Japanese Americans face greater risks of pancreatic cancer, according to a recent study by the University of Southern California, the University of Hawaii and others.

The study looked at different ethnic groups and a variety of risk factors that contribute to pancreatic cancer, and showed that Native Hawaiians have a 60% greater risk of pancreatic cancer than European Americans, while Japanese Americans showed a 33% greater risk.

“When you take into account smoking, diabetes, red meat intake and family history of pancreatic cancer, you explain some of the differences but not all of them,” said Loic Le Marchand, associate director for Ethnic Diversity at the UH Cancer Center and one of the authors of the study. “That’s what we were able to contribute: Ethnic differences remain when taking into account known risk factors of pancreatic cancer.”

The group involved in the study included more than 20 years of data from more than 180,000 participants, who were categorized as Japanese Americans, European Americans, Latino Americans, African Americans and Native Hawaiians and were recruited from Los Angeles County and Hawaii.

Previous studies had showed the increased risk of pancreatic cancer in African Americans, but before this study there were little data regarding other ethnic groups.

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