Cancer death rates in the United States have declined in recent years, but the declines vary by congressional district, according to research published in Cancer.
Researchers looked at death rates for lung, colorectal, female breast, and prostate cancers across congressional districts. They used data from the National Center for Health Statistics to estimate the relative change in age-standardized cancer death rates from 1996-2003 to 2012-2020.
Across congressional districts, the decline in cancer death rates from 1996-2003 to 2012-2020 ranged from 15.9% to 64.9% in men. Most districts (372/436) had a decline of 20% to 45%.
For women, the decline in cancer death rates from 1996-2003 to 2012-2020 ranged from 5.2% to 56.6% across congressional districts. Most districts (384/436) had a decline of 10% to 40%.
The largest declines in cancer death rates were observed in the South along the East Coast and the southern border. The smallest declines were seen in the Midwest and Appalachia.
When the researchers looked at death rates for the individual cancer types, they found that prostate cancer death rates declined from 25.0% to 68.3% across congressional districts. Breast cancer death rates declined from 13.6% to 57.7% across districts.
Colorectal cancer death rates declined from 14.3% to 67.8% among men and from 14.0% to 66.0% among women.
Lung cancer death rates declined from 21.4% to 72.8% among men. Declines were smaller for women, and lung cancer death rates did not decline for women in at least 7 congressional districts.
“Progress in reducing cancer death rates during the past 25 years considerably vary by congressional district, underscoring the need for strengthening existing and implementing new public health policies for broad and equitable application of proven interventions such as raising tax on tobacco and Medicaid expansion,” the researchers wrote.
Disclosures: One study author declared affiliations with biotech, pharmaceutical, and/or device companies. Please see the original reference for a full list of disclosures.
Islami F, Wiese D, Marlow EC, et al. Progress in reducing cancer mortality in the United States by congressional district, 1996–2003 to 2012–2020. Cancer. Published online May 9, 2023. doi:10.1002/cncr.34808
This article originally appeared on Cancer Therapy Advisor