Hundreds of thousands of Americans die every year from some form of cancer and millions more have survived thanks to early diagnosis and treatment. This group of diseases linked to uncontrolled growth and spread of abnormal cells is the second biggest killer in the U.S. after heart disease.
According to the American Cancer Society, excluding certain types of skin cancer, at least 42% of newly diagnosed cancers in the United States are potentially avoidable. Nearly one in five cancers is caused by smoking and almost as many cases are linked to a combination of excess body weight, poor nutrition, lack of adequate exercise, and alcohol consumption.
Because lifestyle choices play such a significant role, the rates of cancer vary from one population to the next. Access to affordable preventative health care is another factor: communities with less access to regular doctor’s checkups are more likely to contract cancer that goes undiagnosed until it’s too late.
In the United States, the six most common types of cancer are: breast, lung, colon, prostate, Non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and leukemia. (These are the most common cancers in America and their survival rates.)
There is considerable variation in the incidence of various types of cancer from one state to another. To identify the estimated number of new cases diagnosed in every state in 2022, 24/7 Tempo reviewed a report from the American Cancer Society’s “Cancer Facts and Figures 2023,” released in January 2023.
Delaware leads the nation in breast and prostate cancer while West Virginians are most likely to suffer from cancers of the colon and lung. Florida leads the nation in leukemia and Non-Hodgkin lymphoma. (These are the states where deaths from cancer are going up.)
Though sun-splashed Utah has the nation’s highest rate of skin cancer, it has a low overall cancer rate that’s attributed in part to the state’s large population of teetotaling and non-smoking Mormons. The Beehive State has the nation’s lowest rate for four of the six main types of cancer, the second-lowest rate for leukemia, and the seventh-lowest rate for prostate cancer.
California, the country’s largest state by population, has the second lowest rate for lung cancer and the third-lowest rates for prostate cancer and leukemia. Texas, the country’s second most populous state, has the nation’s lowest rate of prostate cancer and is among the five states with the lowest rates for breast cancer, lung cancer, and Non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
In some states, one or two types of cancer are statistical outliers. For example, Maine ranks among the five states with the highest rates for breast cancer, lung cancer, leukemia, and Non-Hodgkin lymphoma, but it ranks 39th for colon cancer and 22nd for prostate cancer. Alaska has among the nation’s lowest rates for five of these cancers, but it ranks 17th for colon cancer. New Hampshire is among the ten states with the highest rates of these cancers except for colon cancer, for which it ranks 25th.
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