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Kentucky Has Highest Rate Of Cancer Deaths In US September 8, 2006

Posted by notapundit in Kentucky News, Main.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP)–A national report shows that cancer deaths are on the decline, but the news isn’t as good for the state of Kentucky.

A history of tobacco and having the nation’s highest adult smoking rate are some of the reasons experts say Kentucky has the highest rate of cancer deaths.

The national report presented by the National Cancer Institute, the American Cancer Society and others shows that the overall mortality across the country decreased by an average of 1.1% per year from 1994 to 2003. The number of cancer cases stayed about the same.

Data from the cancer institute and states’ cancer registries offer a chance to compare states’ cancer rates. According to that data, Kentucky’s death rate was 227.5 per 100,000 in 2000-2003, compared with 194.5 nationally.

“What’s driving a whole host of this is lung cancer incidence rates and death from that disease,” said Thomas Tucker, director of the Kentucky Cancer Registry.

Lung cancer is one of the deadliest forms of cancer, often caused by smoking.

The national decline in cancer deaths can be attributed to “successful cancer prevention efforts to reduce exposure to tobacco and other cancer risk factors, earlier detection of disease through screening, improved prognosis through more effective treatment and reduction in inequalities in cancer care,” the report said.

Inactivity, diet and excess weight are to blame for a third of all U.S. cancer deaths, according to the American Cancer Society. Health advocates in Kentucky say there’s still work to do when it comes to persuading Kentuckians to adopt healthy lifestyle choices. They also say Kentuckians need better access to health care so that they can get diagnosed and treated.

“Kentucky is on its way,” said Sue Thomas-Cox, program manager for Kentucky’s comprehensive cancer program. “We’re slower than other states, but we’re on our way.”


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