Cancer rates in Appalachian counties occur at a higher rate than in non-Appalachian counties, says a report, “Cancer Incidence in Appalachia 2004-11,” published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.
The overall rate for the region was 4.2 percent higher among men and 2.5 percent higher among women. Researchers said the gap between Appalachian cancer cases and non-Appalachian cancer cases was shrinking in all areas except oral cavity and pharynx, larynx, lung and bronchus and thyroid cancer.
Researchers put most of the blame for the higher cancer rate on higher tobacco use, but they also said cancer is higher in Appalachia because of poverty, patient health care utilization and access to care. The official Appalachian region has 25 million people in 420 counties in 13 states, as defined for the federal Appalachian Regional Commission.
Previous research has found that the incidence of cancer is not much higher in Appalachia than in the country as a whole, but the rate of deaths from some cancers is higher, probably because people in the region are less likely to get tested for cancer.
The Rural Blog is published by the Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues.