A new analyses conducted by the American Cancer Society observed cancer death rates by congressional district. Generally cancer mortality is reported by state.
This data will demonstrate to congressmen and women what exactly is going on and how they can work to improve cancer prevention and control.
Cancer death rates are consistently lowest in Mountain states and highest in Appalachia and areas of the south. According to the analysis, the difference between rates in the lowest district and those in the highest district is almost two-fold.
The report was published online in CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians on August, 10, 2015.
For the analysis, researcher examined average annual crude cancer death rates from 2002 to 2011 for every county in the United States. Rates were adjusted to the American standards population in 2000 for 15 difference age groups.
Overall cancer mortality rates ranged from 159 per 100,000 for men in Utah’s third congressional district to 300 per 100,000 in eastern Kentucky’s fifth congressional district.
For women, overall cancer mortality rates ranged from 112 per 100,000 in Utah’s first congressional district to 196 per 100,000 in Kentucky’s fifth congressional district.
The research found that the distribution for both lung and colorectal cancer death rates was similar to the overall pattern. The researchers noted that the lowest rates were consistently noted in Utah.
Researchers believe that the geographic patterns for lung cancer reflect the preponderance of smoking-related cancers and their continued toll on human health.
Southern states with the highest overall cancer mortality rates have generally also lagged behind in funding and implementing tobacco control programs and policies. Southern states also have the lowest cigarette excise taxes in the country.
According to researchers, patterns also vary by race/ethnicity, albeit based on limited data. For example, the highest rates of prostate cancer death in non-Hispanic white men were in the West and in north central United States, but the highest rates in black men were in the deep South.
Researchers believe that the wide variation in cancer death rates emphasizes that a lot of this variation is modifiable. Clinicians can talk to their patients about ways to prevent cancer such as not smoking, maintaining a healthy body weight and being physically active. All of these details can’t be underestimated in terms of ways to reduce cancer risk in their patient population.