"Breast cancer and prostate cancer develop due to many reasons, but environmental factors and lifestyle play a major role in these cancers," said Jame Abraham, M.D., medical director for WVU's Mary Babb Randolph Cancer Center and leader of the research team.
"When men and women from India and Pakistan migrate to the United States, their disease profiles change, mirroring the American risk," Jame added.
The study, to be published in the Sept. 15 issue of the journal Cancer, a peer-reviewed journal published by American Cancer Society, is the first epidemiological analysis of the Pakistani and Indian immigrant population.
To reach the conclusions, the researchers looked at data from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) program of the National Cancer Institute, examining almost 7,000 cases between 1988 and 2003.
In India, the No. 1 cancer among men is cancer of the mouth related to tobacco use, and the No. 1 cancer among women is cancer of the cervix, which could be caused by human papillomavirus (HPV), poor perinatal care and lack of screening and early detection.
In the immigrant population, by contrast, the top cancer is prostate cancer for men and breast cancer for women.
The Pakistani and Indian immigrant population in the United States also experiences rising rates of lung and colon cancer, again mirroring U.S. patterns.
"We need to educate the immigrant population about risk factors as well as preventive measures they can take to reduce their risk of prostate, breast cancer, lung cancer and colon cancer," Dr. Abraham said.