Cancer incidence continues to be higher in Appalachian regions compared with non-Appalachian regions, according to an analysis of incidence and trends for all cancers in both types of regions and covering 100% of the US population. The study findings were published online ahead of print in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.1

A higher cancer burden is found in Appalachia; however, literature about cancer in this region is limited. To identify cancer burden in Appalachian counties vs. non-Appalachian counties for all cancers, this study compared incidence and trends by state, sex, and race using the most recent data from the United States Cancer Statistics for 2004 to 2011.

The analysis found overall cancer incidence in Appalachia is higher for all cancer sites combined regardless of sex, race, or region compared with non-Appalachia, particularly for tobacco-related cancers.

The incidence gap between the two types of regions, however, has narrowed except for cancers of the oral cavity and pharynx, larynx, lung and bronchus, and thyroid.

High tobacco use, potential differences in socioeconomic status, other risk factors, patient health care utilization, and provider practices appear to be factors influencing the continued higher incidence for cancers in Appalachia.

The researchers conclude that continuing to monitor the impact of screening and early detection programs, understand behavioral risk factors, and evaluate the effectiveness of interventions may mediate disparities.

REFERENCES

1. Wilson RJ, Ryerson AB, Singh SD, King JB. Cancer incidence in Appalachia, 2004-2011 [published online ahead of print January 27, 2016]. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. doi:10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-15-0946.