Cancer Incidence Among Arab Americans in California, Detroit, and New Jersey SEER Registries

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We calculated cancer incidence for Arab Americans in California; Detroit, Michigan; and New Jersey, and compared rates with non-Hispanic, non-Arab Whites (NHNAWs); Blacks; and Hispanics.


We conducted a study using population-based data. We linked new cancers diagnosed in 2000 from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results Program (SEER) to an Arab surname database. We used standard SEER definitions and methodology for calculating rates. Population estimates were extracted from the 2000 US Census. We calculated incidence and rate ratios.


Arab American men and women had similar incidence rates across the 3 geographic regions, and the rates were comparable to NHNAWs. However, the thyroid cancer rate was elevated among Arab American women compared with NHNAWs, Hispanics, and Blacks. For all sites combined, for prostate and lung cancer, Arab American men had a lower incidence than Blacks and higher incidence than Hispanics in all 3 geographic regions. Arab American male bladder cancer incidence was higher than that in Hispanics and Blacks in these regions.


Our results suggested that further research would benefit from the federal recognition of Arab Americans as a specified ethnicity to estimate and address the cancer burden in this growing segment of the population.

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