Sela Panapasa photo

Understanding Cancer Disparities Among US Pacific Islanders

a MiCDA Research Project Description

Investigators: Sela Panapasa, James McNally

Funding: American Cancer Society, 2012-2015 (RSG-11-099-01-CPHPS)

This research analyzes cancer disparities among three Pacific Islander ethnic minority groups – Native Hawaiians, Guamanian/Chamorros, and Samoans. These groups face significant risks of being medically underserved given their relative high rates of underemployment, poverty, lack of health insurance, and untreated illness. In past research, the artificial grouping of Pacific Islanders with Asians has created measurement problems due to high levels of heterogeneity in the Asian Pacific Islander (API) category. Using data from the National Cancer Institute Surveillance Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) cancer registry system, the National Center for Health Statistics Mortality Detail Files (MDFs), U.S. Census summary files, and a specialized county-level contextual data file that can be linked to these other data sets, this study focuses on three objectives: To describe cancer incidence and mortality among Pacific Islanders living in Hawaii and California; to identify disparities in cancer incidence and mortality for the three subgroups; and to compare cancer incidence and mortality among Pacific Islanders in Hawaii and California. This research will establish useful baseline information on cancer incidence and mortality, and lay the foundation for meaningful systematic interventions to reduce cancer disparities among this underserved population.

Project Web Site

Research Signature Theme:

Health and well-being in later life: Disparities

Country of Focus: USA