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Cancer rates could rise among ethnic minority groups, charity says

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ore must be done to tackle smoking and obesity rates among people from ethnic minority groups to prevent a surge in preventable cancer cases, a charity has warned.

Cancer Research UK (CRUK) said evidence has suggested the proportion of smokers and obesity rates could increase among people from black, Asian or mixed ethnic backgrounds.

If this happens, then there could be a rise in cancers linked to lifestyle factors.

CRUK said that this, combined with reports that people from ethnic minority backgrounds have worse experiences of cancer care and have lower survival rates for some cancer types, is “worrying”.

The comments come after a new report highlighted how rates of cancer in England vary between people from different ethnic backgrounds.

The cancer incidence we see today is partly the product of smoking and obesity in decades past, if we don’t tackle these risk factors today, we could see cancer rates rise in future for people from ethnic minority groups

Findings from the report, published in the British Journal of Cancer, include:

– White people in England are more than twice as likely to get some types of cancer, including melanoma skin cancer, oesophageal, bladder and lung cancers compared with people from black, Asian or mixed ethnic backgrounds.

– Black people are more likely to get stomach and liver cancers.

– Black people are almost three times more likely than white people to get myeloma and black men are almost twice as likely to get prostate cancer compared with white men.

– Some stomach cancers were also found to be higher among black people compared to white people.

– Asian people are more likely to get liver cancers.

Experts from CRUK analysed data from NHS Digital on more than three million cancer diagnoses between 2013 and 2017.

They concluded that: “People of non-white minority ethnicity in England generally have lower cancer risk than the white population, though there are a number of notable exceptions.”

CRUK said that white people are more likely than most minority ethnic groups to smoke or be overweight or obese, and these are the two largest risk factors in developing cancer.

This could help to explain why white people are more likely to get some types of cancer than other ethnic groups, the charity added.

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