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States with the highest cancer rates

  • States with the highest cancer rates

    Cancer is ubiquitous. Every American knows someone affected by the disease, whether it's a family member, friend, or neighbor. An estimated 38% of adults will be diagnosed in their lifetimes, according to the National Cancer Institute, making cancer a top medical priority: National Center for Health Statistics reports cancer is the most-researched disease in the U.S.

    The National Institutes of Health dedicate more than $6 million to cancer research each year. While this research has led to new treatments contributing to a consistent decrease in cancer mortality rates throughout the 21st century, about one-third of patients will not survive five years after their diagnoses. This threat is still a long way from being eradicated.

    It's difficult to generalize trends of how cancer spreads across different populations. The term “cancer” in fact refers to a collection of over 100 related diseases, each of which involves a breakdown in normal body processes due to cells dividing uncontrollably and spreading into surrounding areas. Every one of these individual diseases has different potential causes, and scientists are still hard at work identifying links between possible carcinogens and actual disease rates. Still, we can see a clear variation between groups of people on a geographic level—particularly when comparing cancer rates across all 50 U.S. states. What factors might cause some states to have more people diagnosed with cancer each year, while other states have less? These questions are still being investigated, but hospitals and other research centers in every state are working to find answers.

    To examine this geographic distribution, Stacker used data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which carefully track the rates at which cancer affects the American population. We ranked all 50 states and the District of Columbia by their incidence rates of cancer in 2016 (the most recent data available). The incidence rate refers to the number of people out of 100,000 who are diagnosed with cancer in a given year and is age-adjusted to the 2000 U.S. standard population. We've also included incidence rates for the three most prevalent types of cancer in the U.S.: lung and bronchus cancer, prostate cancer, and breast cancer. And, for 38 of 50 slides, the story includes local charities that support cancer patients and medical research in these states, collected via Charity Navigator.

    Read on to find out how your state fares.

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  • #51. New Mexico

    - Cancer rate: 359.4 new incidents per 100,000 people (17.6% below U.S. average)
    - Cancer rate by gender: 372.4 per 100,000 men; 352.8 per 100,000 women
    - Deaths due to cancer: 139.8 per 100,000 people (10.4% below U.S. average; #5 lowest among all states)
    - Lung and broncus cancer rate: 36.4 per 100,000 people (35% below U.S. average; #2 lowest among all states)
    - Breast cancer rate: 106.6 per 100,000 people (14% below U.S. average; #1 lowest among all states)
    - Prostate cancer rate: 79.7 per 100,000 people (21.1% below U.S. average; #18 highest among all states)
    - Notable local charity: Not applicable

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  • #50. Arizona

    - Cancer rate: 376.3 new incidents per 100,000 people (13.7% below U.S. average)
    - Cancer rate by gender: 392.2 per 100,000 men; 366.8 per 100,000 women
    - Deaths due to cancer: 138.6 per 100,000 people (11.2% below U.S. average; #4 lowest among all states)
    - Lung and broncus cancer rate: 44.3 per 100,000 people (20.9% below U.S. average; #6 lowest among all states)
    - Breast cancer rate: 115 per 100,000 people (7.3% below U.S. average; #7 lowest among all states)
    - Prostate cancer rate: 72.3 per 100,000 people (28.4% below U.S. average; #20 highest among all states)
    - Notable local charity: Southwest Center for HIV/AIDS (Charity Navigator score: 86.42, Goal: All are welcome here!)

  • #49. District of Columbia

    - Cancer rate: 378.3 new incidents per 100,000 people (13.2% below U.S. average)
    - Cancer rate by gender: 394.7 per 100,000 men; 371.4 per 100,000 women
    - Deaths due to cancer: 155.8 per 100,000 people (0.1% below U.S. average; #20 lowest among all states)
    - Lung and broncus cancer rate: 38.9 per 100,000 people (30.5% below U.S. average; #4 lowest among all states)
    - Breast cancer rate: 123.3 per 100,000 people (0.6% below U.S. average; #20 lowest among all states)
    - Prostate cancer rate: 116.8 per 100,000 people (15.6% above U.S. average; #22 lowest among all states)
    - Notable local charity: D.C. Bar Pro Bono Center (Charity Navigator score: 93.74, Goal: The D.C. Bar Pro Bono Center transforms lives by providing free legal help through volunteer lawyers.)

    [Pictured: "Lights of HOPE" ceremony on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C., 2019.]

  • #48. Nevada

    - Cancer rate: 385 new incidents per 100,000 people (11.7% below U.S. average)
    - Cancer rate by gender: 399.3 per 100,000 men; 374.8 per 100,000 women
    - Deaths due to cancer: 158.8 per 100,000 people (1.8% above U.S. average; #25 lowest among all states)
    - Lung and broncus cancer rate: 50.5 per 100,000 people (9.8% below U.S. average; #12 lowest among all states)
    - Breast cancer rate: 111.7 per 100,000 people (9.9% below U.S. average; #4 lowest among all states)
    - Prostate cancer rate: 77.9 per 100,000 people (22.9% below U.S. average; #19 highest among all states)
    - Notable local charity: Nevada Childhood Cancer Foundation (Charity Navigator score: 92.22, Goal: Improving the quality of life for children and adults fighting a daily battle against disease)

    [Pictured: The Rose Regatta Dragon Boat Festival, 2018 in Las Vegas.]

  • #47. California

    - Cancer rate: 385.6 new incidents per 100,000 people (11.6% below U.S. average)
    - Cancer rate by gender: 406.7 per 100,000 men; 374.2 per 100,000 women
    - Deaths due to cancer: 140.2 per 100,000 people (10.1% below U.S. average; #6 lowest among all states)
    - Lung and broncus cancer rate: 38.2 per 100,000 people (31.8% below U.S. average; #3 lowest among all states)
    - Breast cancer rate: 118.3 per 100,000 people (4.6% below U.S. average; #12 lowest among all states)
    - Prostate cancer rate: 85.1 per 100,000 people (15.7% below U.S. average; #15 highest among all states)
    - Notable local charity: Cancer Support Community San Francisco Bay Area (Charity Navigator score: 99.29, Goal: Facing cancer together)

    [Pictured: Eighteen-year-old cancer patient Patrick McGill at the UCSF Comprehensive Cancer Center Childrens Hospital, 2005 in San Francisco.]

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  • #46. Colorado

    - Cancer rate: 388.8 new incidents per 100,000 people (10.8% below U.S. average)
    - Cancer rate by gender: 402 per 100,000 men; 384.7 per 100,000 women
    - Deaths due to cancer: 138.3 per 100,000 people (11.3% below U.S. average; #3 lowest among all states)
    - Lung and broncus cancer rate: 40.2 per 100,000 people (28.2% below U.S. average; #5 lowest among all states)
    - Breast cancer rate: 127.4 per 100,000 people (2.7% above U.S. average; #25 highest among all states)
    - Prostate cancer rate: 85.9 per 100,000 people (15% below U.S. average; #14 highest among all states)
    - Notable local charity: Family Resource Center Association (Charity Navigator score: 96.66, Goal: Providing a comprehensive approach to improving self-sufficiency for families and individuals)

  • #45. Utah

    - Cancer rate: 390.6 new incidents per 100,000 people (10.4% below U.S. average)
    - Cancer rate by gender: 428.3 per 100,000 men; 363 per 100,000 women
    - Deaths due to cancer: 123.3 per 100,000 people (21% below U.S. average; #1 lowest among all states)
    - Lung and broncus cancer rate: 25.1 per 100,000 people (55.2% below U.S. average; #1 lowest among all states)
    - Breast cancer rate: 114.4 per 100,000 people (7.7% below U.S. average; #5 lowest among all states)
    - Prostate cancer rate: 112 per 100,000 people (10.9% above U.S. average; #16 lowest among all states)
    - Notable local charity: Crossroads Urban Center (Charity Navigator score: 94.78, Goal: Fighting Poverty and Building Community)

  • #44. Texas

    - Cancer rate: 391.8 new incidents per 100,000 people (10.1% below U.S. average)
    - Cancer rate by gender: 429.9 per 100,000 men; 366.1 per 100,000 women
    - Deaths due to cancer: 149.3 per 100,000 people (4.3% below U.S. average; #15 lowest among all states)
    - Lung and broncus cancer rate: 48.5 per 100,000 people (13.4% below U.S. average; #10 lowest among all states)
    - Breast cancer rate: 107.6 per 100,000 people (13.2% below U.S. average; #2 lowest among all states)
    - Prostate cancer rate: 89.2 per 100,000 people (11.7% below U.S. average; #10 highest among all states)
    - Notable local charity: The Children's Assessment Center Foundation (Charity Navigator score: 100, Goal: Providing a safe haven to sexually abused children and their families)

    [Pictured: The finish line at the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, 2018 in Houston.]

  • #43. Wyoming

    - Cancer rate: 402.3 new incidents per 100,000 people (7.7% below U.S. average)
    - Cancer rate by gender: 430.7 per 100,000 men; 380.5 per 100,000 women
    - Deaths due to cancer: 140.6 per 100,000 people (9.9% below U.S. average; #7 lowest among all states)
    - Lung and broncus cancer rate: 44.7 per 100,000 people (20.2% below U.S. average; #8 lowest among all states)
    - Breast cancer rate: 117.8 per 100,000 people (5% below U.S. average; #11 lowest among all states)
    - Prostate cancer rate: 111.5 per 100,000 people (10.4% above U.S. average; #12 lowest among all states)
    - Notable local charity: Not applicable

  • #42. Massachusetts

    - Cancer rate: 404.2 new incidents per 100,000 people (7.3% below U.S. average)
    - Cancer rate by gender: 414.8 per 100,000 men; 402.4 per 100,000 women
    - Deaths due to cancer: 149.9 per 100,000 people (3.9% below U.S. average; #16 lowest among all states)
    - Lung and broncus cancer rate: 56.7 per 100,000 people (1.3% above U.S. average; #24 lowest among all states)
    - Breast cancer rate: 139.3 per 100,000 people (12.3% above U.S. average; #2 highest among all states)
    - Prostate cancer rate: 94.9 per 100,000 people (6% below U.S. average; #3 highest among all states)
    - Notable local charity: Falmouth Service Center (Charity Navigator score: 96.46, Goal: Helping Neighbors in Need.)

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