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States with the highest and lowest cancer rates

Stacker Logo By Betsy Ladyzhets of Stacker | Slide 1 of 52: Cancer is ubiquitous. Every American knows someone affected by the disease, whether it's a family member, friend, or neighbor. An estimated 38% of adults will be diagnosed over the course of their lives, according to the National Cancer Institute, making cancer a top medical priority: National Center for Health Statistics reports the disease is the most researched disease in the U.S.

The National Institutes of Health dedicate more than $6 million to cancer research each year. While this research has led to new treatments contributing to a consistent decrease in cancer mortality rates throughout the 21st century, about one-third of patients will not survive five years after their diagnoses. This threat is still a long way from being eradicated.

It is difficult to generalize trends of how cancer spreads across different populations. The term “cancer” in fact refers to a collection of more than 100 related diseases, each of which involves a breakdown in normal body processes due to cells dividing uncontrollably and spreading into surrounding areas. Every one of these individual diseases has different potential causes, and scientists are still hard at work identifying links between possible carcinogens and actual disease rates. Still, we can see clear variation between groups of people on a geographic level—particularly when comparing cancer rates across all 50 U.S. states. What factors might cause some states to have more people diagnosed with cancer each year, while other states have less? These questions are still being investigated, but hospitals and other research centers in every state are working to find answers.

To examine this geographic distribution, Stacker used data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which carefully track the rates at which cancer affects the American population. We ranked all 50 states and the District of Columbia by their incidence rates of cancer in 2015. The incidence rate refers to the number of people out of 100,000 who are diagnosed with cancer in a given year, and is age-adjusted to the 2000 U.S. standard population. We've also included incidence rates for the three most prevalent types of cancer in the U.S.: lung and bronchus cancer, prostate cancer, and breast cancer.

Read on to find out how your state fares.

You may also like: Best states for health care

Cancer is ubiquitous. Every American knows someone affected by the disease, whether it's a family member, friend, or neighbor. An estimated 38% of adults will be diagnosed over the course of their lives, according to the National Cancer Institute, making cancer a top medical priority: National Center for Health Statistics reports the disease is the most researched disease in the U.S.

The National Institutes of Health dedicates more than $6 million to cancer research each year. While this research has led to new treatments contributing to a consistent decrease in cancer mortality rates throughout the 21st century, about one-third of patients will not survive five years after their diagnoses. This threat is still a long way from being eradicated.

It is difficult to generalize trends of how cancer spreads across different populations. The term “cancer,” in fact, refers to a collection of more than 100 related diseases, each of which involves a breakdown in normal body processes due to cells dividing uncontrollably and spreading into surrounding areas. Every one of these individual diseases has different potential causes, and scientists are still hard at work identifying links between possible carcinogens and actual disease rates. Still, we can see clear variation among groups of people on a geographic level—particularly when comparing cancer rates across all 50 U.S. states. What factors might cause some states to have more people diagnosed with cancer each year, while other states have less? These questions are still being investigated, but hospitals and other research centers in every state are working to find answers.

To examine this geographic distribution, Stacker used data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which carefully tracks the rates at which cancer affects the American population. We ranked all 50 states and the District of Columbia by their incidence rates of cancer in 2015. The incidence rate refers to the number of people out of 100,000 who are diagnosed with cancer in a given year, and is age-adjusted to the 2000 U.S. standard population. We've also included incidence rates for the three most prevalent types of cancer in the U.S.: lung and bronchus cancer, prostate cancer, and breast cancer.

Click through the gallery above to find out how your state fares.

You may also like: Best states for health care

© Photographee.eu // Shutterstock

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