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Division of Public Health releases latest cancer incidence and mortality report

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Cancer screening and early detection have contributed to a continuing decline in Delaware’s all-site cancer mortality rate over the past decade, say Delaware Public Health officials.  From 1998-2002 to 2008-2012, Delaware’s cancer death rate decreased 14 percent.

DPH presented its new report, Cancer Incidence and Mortality in Delaware, 2008-2012 to the Delaware Cancer Consortium (DCC) following its meeting in Dover this week. The annual report provides data for all cancer sites combined (all-site cancer) and eight cancer types, risk factors, early detection and screening recommendations, and census tract maps.

Delaware Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) Secretary Rita Landgraf and DPH Director Dr. Karyl Rattay opened the presentation to DCC members by covering highlights, which include:

Delaware’s all-site cancer mortality rate fell 17 percent among men, 13 percent among women, 21.9 percent among African Americans, and 13.9 percent among Caucasians over the last decade according to the report. However, at 181 deaths per 100,000 people, the state’s mortality rate was still 5.8 percent higher than the U.S. rate for 2008-2012. Delaware’s ranking of fourteen among the states for highest all-site cancer mortality remains relatively unchanged from last year’s report, but still represents considerable progress since the 1990s, when the state ranked second.

Regarding incidence, Delaware’s 2008-2012 all-site cancer incidence rate (503.9 diagnoses per 100,000) was 10.8 percent higher than the comparable U.S. rate. Between the time periods of 1998-2002 and 2008-2012 though, Delaware’s all-site cancer incidence rate declined 2 percent, falling 4 percent among both men and women, 9.5 percent among African Americans, and 0.6 percent among Caucasians.

Among Hispanic Delawareans, the 2008-2012 all-site cancer incidence (412.6 cases per 100,000) and mortality (118.5 deaths per 100,000) rates were significantly lower than the state’s incidence rate (503.9 per 100,000) and mortality rate (181.0 per 100,000).

Breast Cancer

  • The proportion of breast cancer cases among Delaware women diagnosed in the local stage (the most treatable stage) increased from 42.2 percent in 1980-1984 to 65.1 percent in 2008-2012.
  • Breast cancer mortality in Delaware declined 22.3 percent over the last decade (1998-2002 to 2008-2012).

Colorectal Cancer

  • During the same period, Delaware’s colorectal cancer mortality rates declined 49.7 percent among African-American males, and 44.6 percent among African-American females, compared to 29.3 percent among Caucasian males and 29 percent among Caucasian females.

Prostate Cancer

  • From 1998-2002 to 2008-2012, prostate cancer mortality declined 39.2 percent among African-American Delawareans, compared to 23.3 percent among Caucasian Delawareans.

Lung cancer, the most frequently diagnosed cancer in the nation and in Delaware, accounted for 14.4 percent of all newly diagnosed cancer cases and 30 percent of all cancer deaths in Delaware from 2008-2012. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 85 percent to 90 percent of lung cancers are caused by tobacco use.


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