CDC Report Shows Deaths from Cancer Higher in Rural America

This is the first report to highlight the differences in cancer deaths based on geographic location

A new report from the CDC shows a slower reduction in cancer death rates in rural America compared to urban America. The data was released as part of the agency’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Researchers found that rates of new cases for lung cancer, colorectal cancer, and cervical cancer were higher in rural America. However, rural areas were found to have lower rates of new cancers of the female breast and prostate.

“While geography alone can’t predict your risk of cancer, it can impact prevention, diagnosis and treatment opportunities – and that’s a significant public health problem in the U.S.,” said CDC Acting Director Anne Schuchat, M.D. “Many cancer cases and deaths are preventable and with targeted public health efforts and interventions, we can close the growing cancer gap between rural and urban Americans.”

Death rates were higher in rural areas (180 deaths per 100,000 persons) compared with urban areas (158 deaths per 100,000).

“Cancer – its causes, its prevention, and its treatment – is complicated,” said Lisa C. Richardson, M.D., oncologist and director of CDC’s Division of Cancer Prevention and Control. “When I treat cancer patients, I don’t do it alone – other healthcare professionals and family members help the patient during and after treatment. The same is true for community-level preventive interventions. Partnerships are key to reducing cancer incidence and the associated disparities.”

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