Report: Arizona has lowest cancer rates in the U.S.

Katrina Schaefer
March 29, 2011

PHOENIX – A new report says Arizona has the lowest cancer rates in the United States.

According to the Arizona Department of Health Services , the report by the National Cancer Institute and the Centers for Disease Control determined that the Grand Canyon State’s cancer incidence rates are the lowest in the nation.

A report comparing the rates of cancer across 49 states, six metropolitan areas, and the District of Columbia, ranks Arizona 50th and 49th in key categories.

“This is a case where being last, means you are doing well,” said Wayne Tormala, Chief, Arizona Department of Health Services Bureau of Tobacco & Chronic Disease. “Being 50th means our rates are the lowest.”

ADHS says our state has the lowest incidence of all cancers combined among men and women, the lowest rate of cancers among men, and the second lowest rate of all cancers among women.

However, the Arizona Cancer Registry reports more people in Arizona are diagnosed with cancer at later stages. Despite the ranking, cancer is a serious threat.

“This truly makes the case for early detection and screening,” said Sharlene Bozack, Chief Government Relations Officer, American Cancer Society (ACS) Cancer Action Network Great West Division. “The earlier some cancers are found – like breast cancer, prostate cancer and colorectal cancer – the more likely people are to survive those cancers.”

ACS screening guidelines recommend:

Yearly mammograms for women starting at age 40

A prostate exam every 1-2 years for men over age 45, dependent upon personal risk factors

A colonoscopy every 10 years for men and women over age 50
“Many factors affect whether people go for screenings,” added Tormala. “The economy may have an impact on early diagnosis as lost jobs means lost insurance, and that leads to potentially more advanced-stages of cancers in our state, calling for a heightened urgency for early prevention and education.”

“Next to prevention and intervention, well-founded data is a critical first step in addressing cancer in our state,” said Tormala. “We are currently discussing with cancer experts nationally and from throughout our state how to address the challenge of increasing early detection and disease management.”

Learn more about the Arizona Department of Health Services

To read the story online, visit this link.

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