U.S. States With The Highest Cancer Rates

Early detection is the first step in successful cancer treatment.
Early detection is the first step in successful cancer treatment.

Cancer has a major adverse impact on lives and societies across the globe. This fact is particularly true in the United States which has one of the highest rates of cancer in the world. Not only is cancer tragic for the patients and their families, but it is also detrimental to the healthcare system. In 2010, national expenditures for cancer reached $125 billion, and this figure is expected to increase to $156 billion by 2020. The cancer rate in the US is approximately 318 cases per 100,000 people. This article provides an outline of the states with the highest cancer rates. 

Causes of High Cancer Rates

Why is cancer so common in the US? Health professionals believe that some cancers cases are caused by unhealthy lifestyle choices. Residents in this country are more likely to be obese, consume large amounts of alcohol, and have sedentary lifestyles than in other parts of the world. This, however, does not mean that the country is doomed to suffer from high cancer rates. Lifestyle is a choice, and the risk of developing cancer can be decreased by becoming physically active, losing weight, and eating healthy.

States With Highest Rates of Cancer

Cancer rates in the US are highest in the eastern side of the country. Kentucky has the highest incidence with 512 people out of 100,000 developing the disease every year. One of the poorest states in the nation, it has not sufficiently invested in cancer prevention and detection; therefore, the state also has the highest rate of deaths from cancer. Kentucky was founded on the tobacco industry, a legacy that remains today as nearly a quarter of the population smokes cigarettes. This smoking habit explains why lung cancer is higher here than any other state in the nation.

The second highest cancer rate is found in Delaware where 490.6 out of every 100,000 residents will develop the disease annually. After being named as one of the states with the highest rates of cancer, Delaware increased its screening and prevention programs which has helped to improve survival and diagnoses rates. Common cancers here are colorectal and prostate. Both can be prevented through early detection.

Number 3 on the list is Pennsylvania. In this state, the incidence of cancer is 483.1. Cancer is one of the most common chronic diseases here and the second leading cause of death (after heart disease). The most commonly diagnosed type of cancer is prostate followed by lung, breast, and colorectal. Lifestyle behaviors are again to blame, residents here report high tobacco use and unhealthy diets.

The other states with the highest cancer rates include New York (482), New Jersey (479.5), Louisiana (477.5), Minnesota (475), and Iowa (470.2). 

Most Common Types of Cancer

The most common types of cancer throughout the country include breast, lung, prostate, colon, bladder, and skin. Additionally, rates of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, thyroid, kidney, leukemia, endometrial, and pancreatic cancers are expected to rise in 2016. Many of these are treatable with early detection.

Treatment Options

Cancer treatment options in the US include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, targeted therapy, hormone therapy, stem cell transplant, and precision medicine. The treatment module chosen depends on the kind of cancer and its level of advance. Scientists are currently working on immunotherapy, a treatment that will retrain immune systems to fight cancer cells. It involves removing white blood cells and genetically modifying them with a new targeting method. So far this has only been used with leukemia patients and has yet to be fully developed.

U.S. States With The Highest Cancer Rates

RankAreaCancer Cases (Per 100,000 Residents)
4New York482
5New Jersey480
13West Virginia468
14New Hampshire466
16North Carolina461
19Rhode Island458
25South Carolina453

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