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What is the most common cancer in your state?

January 15, 2014

    Juliette Mullin, Editor

    The American Cancer Society (ACS) recently released its cancer estimates for 2014, and the annual report is full of interesting state-by-state data for hospital oncology units preparing for the new year.

    New cancer cases in 2014

    According to the report, an estimated 1,665,450 new cases of cancer will be diagnosed in 2014. Slightly more than half of those cases—about 51%—will be in men.

    ACS also projects that the three most common types of new cancer will be breast cancer (235,030 cases), prostate cancer (233,000 cases), and lung cancer (224,210 cases).

    The report notes that lung cancer has the largest geographic variation, largely because of the historical and continuing difference in smoking rates. In addition, there is a wide range of prostate cancer incidence, which is largely attributed to state differences in PSA testing and demographics.

    Take Kentucky and Utah, for example. Kentucky's historically had the nation's highest smoking rate, and the state also has a lung cancer incidence rate that is four times higher than Utah, which has the nation's lowest smoking rate.

    That vast difference in smoking rates is reflected in ACS's projections for new cancer cases in 2014:

    • In Kentucky, lung cancer is expected to be the most prevalent type of new cancer cases in 2014. ACS projects 4,690 new lung cancer cases in the state, 3,370 new breast cancer cases, and 3,280 new prostate cancer cases.
    • In Utah, ACS projects that there will be just 650 new cases of lung cancer, while there will be an estimated 1,440 new breast cancer cases and 1,780 new prostate cancer cases.  

    It's important to note that in some states, there isn't a major difference in the projected number of new cases for lung, breast, and prostate cancer. For example, North Carolina is expected to see 7,850 new cases of lung cancer, 7,580 new cases of breast cancer, and 7,580 new cases of prostate cancer.

    The report also projects that the five states with the highest cancer incidence in 2014 will be:

      1. Delaware (511.7 cancer cases per 100,000 residents)
      2. Maine (511.1 per 100,000 residents)
      3. New Hampshire (507.2 per 100,000 residents)
      4. Rhode Island (506.5 per 100,000 residents)
      5. Connecticut (505.7 per 100,000 residents)

      Cancer deaths in 2014

      Although breast and prostate cancers will be the most prevalent kinds of new cancer this year, lung cancer will cause the deaths of the most Americans—by far.

      ACS estimates that there will be an estimated 585,720 cancer deaths in 2014. (That's about 1,600 cancer deaths every day.) And lung cancer is expected to cause 159,260 of those deaths, the society projects, followed by colon cancer, which ACS predicts will cause 50,310 deaths.

      • The states where people are most likely to die of cancer

        The latest edition of America's Health Rankings is filled with plenty of useful (and oft-concerning) information about the state of the states, from a top-line review of which states are the healthiest to more in-depth individual profiles like this look at Maryland.

        One national nugget that jumped out was cancer mortality data. And looking by state, those mortality rates are truly all over the map.

      To put the cancer mortality projections for 2014 in context, it's best to look at historical trends. The report predicts about 176.4 cancer deaths for every 100,000 Americans in 2014. Compared to 1991, when the cancer rate peaked at 215.1 deaths per 100,000 Americans, that's major progress. But it does represent a slight increase from 2010, when the cancer death rate was 171.8 per 100,000 U.S. residents.

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