Welcome to the State of California 

Cancer Mortality Data Trends for 2000-2010   DS 12-12000

Race/Ethnicity Group Differences

Leading Causes of Death

In the past eleven years, heart disease remains the leading cause of death in California.  However, while the number of deaths due to heart disease continues to gradually decline each year from year-to-year, the number of cancer deaths slightly increase relative to the year 2000.

Number of Cancer and Heart Disease Deaths, California 2000-2010

Leading Causes of Death by Race/Ethnicity

Heart disease and cancers deaths alternated as the number one leading cause of death based on race/ethnicity.  Cancer was the second leading cause of death for every race/ethnicity in all years from 2000 through 2010 with the following exceptions:

     •    For American Indians, cancer replaced heart diseases as leading cause of death in 2010.
     •    For Asians, cancer was the leading cause of death, except in 2002 when heart disease was the leading cause of death.
     •    For Hispanics, beginning in year 2007 onward cancer deaths became the leading cause.
     •    For Two or More Races, there has been slight fluctuation between cancer and heart disease as leading cause of death.  Cancer became the leading cause of death in 2006, 2007, 2009 and 2010. In 2008, heart disease ranked one.

See the Technical Notes for information about leading causes of death and rankings.

Age-Adjusted Rates

The highest age-adjusted cancer mortality rates by race/ethnicity occurred in Blacks for each year of study.

Significant decreasing age-adjusted cancer mortality rates were observed in Asians, Blacks, Hispanics and Whites.  Two or More Races experienced a significant increase, possibly due to improved race reporting on the death certificate.

Cancer Age-Adjusted Death Rates by Race/Ethnicity, California 2000-2010 

The percent changes for age-adjusted rates between 2000 and 2010 varied among race/ethnicity:

     •    The age-adjusted death rate for Blacks decreased by 14.2 percent.
     •    The age-adjusted death rate for Pacific Islanders decreased by 4.5 percent.
     •    The age-adjusted death rate for Whites decreased by 12.8 percent.
     •    The age-adjusted death rate for Hispanics decreased by 6.9 percent.
     •    The age-adjusted death rate for American Indians decreased by 18.0 percent.
     •    The age-adjusted death rate for Asians decreased by 10.8 percent.
     •    The age-adjusted death rate for Two or More Races increased by 321.3 percent.

Annual cancer age-adjusted death rates and 95 percent confidence intervals are shown in  Table 3 (PDF)Opens a new browser window..

Age Distribution of Cancer Deaths by Race/Ethnicity

The average age of death due to cancer during the study period differed between race/ethnicity.  Pacific Islanders had the lowest average age of 61.6 years and Whites had the highest average of 72.2 years.  This means on the average Pacific Islanders died more than 10 years earlier from cancers when compared to Whites.  The average age of death from cancer between 2000 and 2010 was:

     •    61.6 years for Pacific Islanders (N=1,601)
     •    64.2 years Two or More Races (N= 2,466)
     •    65.0 years Hispanics (N=79,961)
     •    67.1 years for American Indians (N=2,028)
     •    67.2 years for Blacks (N=44,534)
     •    68.8 years for Asians (N=50,661)
     •    72.2 years for Whites (N=417,535)

While the majority of cancer deaths occurred to people over age 65, the distribution varied considerably among those people under the age of 65 based on race/ethnicity.  Specifically, the proportion of cancer deaths before age 65 reflected:

     •    More than 50 percent among Pacific Islanders.
     •    Between 40 and 49 percent for Blacks, Two or More Races, and Hispanics.
     •    Between 30 and 39 percent for American Indians and Asians.
     •    Less than 30 percent among Whites.

The chart below shows the age distribution of cancer deaths by race/ethnicity.

 Age Distribution of Cancer Deaths by Race/Ethnicity, California 2000-2010

Age-Specific Rates

Age-specific death rates for all race/ethnicity were generally higher in older age groups.  Annual age-specific cancer death rates are displayed in Table 2a (PDF)Opens a new browser window..

Crude Death Rates

During the study period, the actual risk of dying per 100,000 population, or crude death rate, for race/ethnicity ranged as follows:

     •    American Indian, 94.4 to 118.7
     •    Asian, 98.3 to 113.0
     •    Black, 176.7 to 191.7
     •    Hispanic, 52.1 to 61.5
     •    Pacific Islander, 100.6 to 131.1
     •    Two or More Races, 11.1 to 45.4
     •    White, 237.0 to 250.0

Annual cancer crude death rates by race/ethnicity are displayed in Table 2a (PDF)Opens a new browser window. under the “All Ages” column.

See the  Technical Notes for information about rate calculation and trend analysis.

Read More:
At a Glance
California Total Population
Male and Female Populations
Race/Ethnic Group Differences
Sex Differences Within Race/Ethnic Groups
County of Residence Populations
Tables (PDF)Opens a new browser window.
Technical Notes
Vital Statistics Query System

Helpful Resources
American Cancer Society
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
California Cancer Registry

Last modified on: 1/20/2016 10:45 AM