The Hmong in California face rates of nasopharyngeal, cervical, stomach and liver cancer up to
16 times higher than those of non-Hispanic whites and three times higher than those of Asian Americans
overall, according to research presented at the 5th Asian American Cancer Control Academy in October.
The academy is the annual meeting of the Asian American Network for Cancer Awareness, Research and Training
(AANCART), headquartered at UC Davis.
More than a third of the nation's 169,000 Hmong live in California. In 2003 the U.S. State Department
granted permission for another 15,000 Hmong to enter the country from Thailand. About half of these newest
immigrants are also expected to settle in California.
"This research points to the need for increased cancer education, awareness and screening among the Hmong
both in California and nationally to help them confront cancer, one of their biggest health threats,"
said Moon S. Chen, Jr., professor of public health sciences at UC Davis School of Medicine and Medical
Center and principal investigator of AANCART.
With the Hmong Women's Heritage Association in Sacramento, UC Davis investigators have translated cancer
information pamphlets into Hmong, compiled a Hmong-English cancer glossary and taught cancer awareness
courses to Hmong community leaders and medical interpreters. They've also launched a patient "navigator"
program, in which a Hmong medical interpreter accompanies Hmong cancer patients to medical appointments.
And they are distributing free health kits containing cancer screening and early detection information
to new Hmong immigrants.
The NCI, U.S. Office of Minority Health, California Department of Health Services and the American Cancer
Society co-sponsored the AANCART Academy.