States With the Highest and Lowest Cancer Rates

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Cancer has overtaken heart disease as the leading cause of death in high-income countries, according to research published Tuesday. In the United States, cancer remains the second leading cause of death but is expected to replace heart disease within a year or two, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

While cancer death rates have been declining for years new diagnoses are expected to continue to rise largely due to the ongoing growth and aging of the U.S. population. Age is the biggest risk factor for cancer.

Nationwide in 2016 — the latest year for which data is available — there were 436 new cancer cases for every 100,000 people, adjusting for age. The likelihood of being diagnosed with cancer, however, depends on a range of factors that contribute to large variations in cancer incidence between states. While it does not move the needle at the state level, your sex changes probability of being diagnosed with certain cancers — these are the most common types of cancer in men and women.

24/7 Tempo reviewed the latest cancer diagnosis rates in every state. We also reviewed overall cancer mortality rate, breast cancer incidence rate, and lung cancer mortality rate, as well as each state’s adult smoking rate, uninsured rate, and adult obesity rate. (We did not include skin cancer incidence. These are the states with the most skin cancer).

Breast and lung cancers are the most commonly diagnosed form of cancer in 33 and 15 states respectively. Utah and Montana are two exceptions where prostate cancer is more frequently diagnosed. But breast and prostate cancer, while afflicting relatively more people, are not the deadliest forms of the disease. Lung cancer has the highest mortality rate of all cancers in every state except for Utah, where prostate cancer is the deadliest.