Open Access Research article

Cancer patterns among children of Turkish descent in Germany: A study at the German Childhood Cancer Registry

Jacob Spallek1*, Claudia Spix2, Hajo Zeeb3, Peter Kaatsch2 and Oliver Razum1

Author Affiliations

1 Dept. of Epidemiology & International Public Health, School of Public Health, Bielefeld University. P.O. Box 10 01 31, 33501 Bielefeld, Germany

2 German Childhood Cancer Registry (GCCR), Institute for Medical Biostatistics, Epidemiology and Informatics (IMBEI), Obere Zahlbacher Strasse 69, 55131 Mainz, Germany

3 Department of Epidemiology, Institute of Medical Biostatistics, Epidemiology and Informatics (IMBEI), Johannes Gutenberg – University Mainz, Obere Zahlbacher Str. 69, 55131 Mainz, Germany

For all author emails, please log on.

BMC Public Health 2008, 8:152  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-8-152

Published: 7 May 2008

Abstract

Background

Cancer risks of migrants might differ from risks of the indigenous population due to differences in socioeconomic status, life style, or genetic factors. The aim of this study was to investigate cancer patterns among children of Turkish descent in Germany.

Methods

We identified cases with Turkish names (as a proxy of Turkish descent) among the 37,259 cases of childhood cancer registered in the German Childhood Cancer Registry (GCCR) during 1980–2005. As it is not possible to obtain reference population data for children of Turkish descent, the distribution of cancer diagnoses was compared between cases of Turkish descent and all remaining (mainly German) cases in the registry, using proportional cancer incidence ratios (PCIRs).

Results

The overall distribution of cancer diagnoses was similar in the two groups. The PCIRs in three diagnosis groups were increased for cases of Turkish descent: acute non-lymphocytic leukaemia (PCIR 1.23; CI (95%) 1.02–1.47), Hodgkin's disease (1.34; 1.13–1.59) and Non-Hodgkin/Burkitt lymphoma (1.19; 1.02–1.39). Age, sex, and period of diagnosis showed no influence on the distribution of diagnoses.

Conclusion

No major differences were found in cancer patterns among cases of Turkish descent compared to all other cases in the GCCR. Slightly higher proportions of systemic malignant diseases indicate that analytical studies involving migrants may help investigating the causes of such cancers.