Differences in Colorectal Cancer Incidence and Survival among First-Generation Labour Immigrants and the Belgian Host Population

Katrien Vanthomme , Vrije Universiteit Brussel
Hadewijch Vandenheede, Vrije Universiteit Brussel

Belgium is a country with a long history of immigration. A large share of Belgium’s immigrant population consists of traditional labour immigrants, mainly from Turkey, Morocco and Italy. As they now reach the older ages, it is essential to monitor their health status. Previous studies have documented a migrant mortality advantage, but it remains unknown whether this is due to differences in incidence or survival. Colorectal cancer (CRC) is one of the leading causes of cancer-related morbidity and mortality, yet not often studied. We will map out differences in CRC incidence and survival by migrant origin and assess the contribution of sociodemographic and socioeconomic factors. We used individually-linked data from the Belgian Census, the Belgian Cancer Registry, and the Crossroads Bank for Social Security. Age-standardised incidence rates and incidence rate ratios were calculated by migrant origin. Additionally, relative survival and relative excess risk of dying within five years after diagnosis were calculated by migrant group. The relative models were assessed with and without adjustment for sociodemographic and socioeconomic variables. Preliminary results suggest lower CRC incidence rates among the immigrant groups, especially among Turks and Moroccans. Although CRC incidence was higher among e.g. unmarried or low-educated people, accounting for these sociodemographic or socioeconomic differences did not alter the observed CRC incidence differences in immigrants versus native Belgians. The results suggest that health gains can be made for the native population by adapting certain lifestyle habits. Future research should also document the health patterns of the descendants of these labour immigrants.

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 Presented in Session P2. Poster Session Ageing, Health and Mortality