U.S. Burden of Cancer by Race and Ethnicity According to Disability-Adjusted Life Years


      In the U.S., people of different races/ethnicities have differences in cancer incidence, mortality, survival, stage at diagnosis, and receipt of treatment, resulting in variances in cancer burden. The burden of cancer in 2011 was assessed by race/ethnicity for 24 cancers using disability-adjusted life years (DALYs).


      In 2014–2015, DALYs and their two components were estimated (years of life lost [YLLs] and years lived with disability) by race/ethnicity using population-based cancer registry data collected in 2013, vital statistics, and literature reviews.


      A total of 9.8 million DALYs (91% YLLs) were lost to cancer. Half of DALYs were due to lung (24%), breast (10%), colorectal (9%), and pancreatic (6%) cancers. Age-standardized DALY rate (ASR) ratios of non-Hispanic blacks (NHBs) over non-Hispanic whites (NHWs) for “all cancers” were 1.3 (95% CI=1.2, 1.4) times higher in men and 1.2 (95% CI=1.2, 1.3) times higher in women (ASR in NHBs 4,003 per 100,000 in men and 3,329 in women vs 3,088 and 2,758 in NHWs, respectively); ASRs were also higher in NHB for 15 cancers. Compared with NHWs, Hispanics and non-Hispanic Asians exhibited lower ASR for “all cancers” and common cancers, contrasting with a higher ASR for infection-related cancers (stomach, liver, cervix).


      The cancer burden was highest in NHBs, followed by NHWs, Hispanics, and non-Hispanic Asians. In all races/ethnicities, the cancer burden was largely driven by YLLs, highlighting the need to prevent death at middle age through broad implementation of structural and behavioral measures of primary prevention, early detection, and treatment.
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