Cancer Down Nationwide, But ‘Hot Spots’ Still Exist


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Cancer deaths in the United States have dropped 20% from 1980 to 2014!

This is great news, but there are still several “hot spots” where cancer deaths persist despite efforts being made nationally, according to a new study in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The study examined 20 million cancer deaths by county location over 24 years.

Liver cancer increased by almost 88% nationwide over that span, and clustered along Texas’ border with Mexico in largely Latino populations, according to a news report on the research by CNN.

Lung cancer deaths “bunched” across the states of Kentucky and Florida, and breast cancer deaths clustered along the Mississippi River and Southern belt.

“At the county level, you see huge disparities,” Ali Mokdad, the lead author of the study and a professor at the University of Washington’s School of Public Health, said in an interview with CNN. “Many counties are falling behind while the rest of the country benefits.”

These counties had the highest death rates (per 100,000 people), including two counties with a large Latino population, CNN reports:

Union County, Florida (17.6% Latino): 503.05
Madison County, Mississippi (2.8% Latino): 363.03
Powell County, Kentucky (1.3% Latino): 337.43
Breathitt County, Kentucky (0.9% Latino): 329.07
Marlboro County, South Carolina (3.2% Latino): 324.02
Owsley County, Kentucky (1.1% Latino): 323.30
Anderson County, Texas (17.6% Latino): 323.22
Perry County, Kentucky (0.9% Latino): 322.75
Harlan County, Kentucky (0.9% Latino): 319.82
Lee County, Kentucky (0.9% Latino): 317.33

Why the disparities?

Study authors say risk factors, like smoking, appear more in certain places, while some places lag behind others in prevention, screening, access to care, and cancer awareness among its population.

Solutions are emerging. Community outreach is key, experts say.

For example, the Delaware Cancer Consortium helped increase cancer screening rates among African Americans, which lowered that population’s colorectal cancer rates by 42% over seven years, nearly equal to their white counterparts, CNN reports.

To get the latest information on efforts to reduce cancer among Latino populations, sign up for e-alerts from Redes En Acción: The National Latino Cancer Research Network, which is led by Dr. Amelie G. Ramirez of SaludToday.

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