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Immigration, Ethnicity and Cancer in U.S. Women

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  • James Ted McDonald
  • Jeremiah Neily

Abstract

This study examines differences in the prevalence of various forms of cancer among American women identified by both ethnicity and immigrant status. Our focus is on four types of cancer – breast, cervical, ovarian, and uterine – that afflict adult working-age women. We analyse the extent to which the prevalence of these cancers among immigrants changes with years in the United States, after controlling for age and socio- economic influences. The paper also examines the extent to which use of preventative health screening and/or lifestyle behaviors might help to explain any observed differences. Data are drawn from the U.S. National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) over the period 1998 to 2005. We find significant evidence of differences in cancer occurrence among immigrants by ethnicity that change with years spent in the USA, as well as pronounced differences by race. The results confirm that the healthy immigrant effect is present in terms of the prevalence of certain forms of cancer in comparison with both US born whites and with US born ethnic minority groups. The result appears not to be due to differences in health behaviors or in the utilization of general health services.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by McMaster University in its series Social and Economic Dimensions of an Aging Population Research Papers with number 206.

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Length: 44 pages
Date of creation: Jun 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:mcm:sedapp:206

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Keywords: cancer; immigrants; ethnic minorities; women's health;

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  1. McDonald, James Ted & Kennedy, Steven, 2004. "Insights into the 'healthy immigrant effect': health status and health service use of immigrants to Canada," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 59(8), pages 1613-1627, October.
  2. McDonald, James Ted & Kennedy, Steven, 2005. "Is migration to Canada associated with unhealthy weight gain? Overweight and obesity among Canada's immigrants," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 61(12), pages 2469-2481, December.
  3. Nicholas Biddle & Steven Kennedy & James Ted Mcdonald, 2007. "Health Assimilation Patterns Amongst Australian Immigrants," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 83(260), pages 16-30, 03.
  4. Steven Kennedy & James Ted McDonald & Nicholas Biddle, 2006. "The Healthy Immigrant Effect and Immigrant Selection: Evidence from Four Countries," Social and Economic Dimensions of an Aging Population Research Papers 164, McMaster University.
  5. Guillermina Jasso & Douglas S. Massey & Mark R. Rosenzweig & James P. Smith, 2004. "Immigrant health: selectivity and acculturation," IFS Working Papers W04/23, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
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