You’re More Likely to Get Cancer If You Live in This U.S. State

There are many factors that contribute to someone developing cancer. But did you know that where you live plays a part? There are certain states where cancer diagnoses are more prevalent. Here is what you should know about the U.S. states with the highest cancer rates, and which state tops the list.

But first, how high is the rate across the country?

A radiologist looking at a screen.

Cancer will drastically change your life, especially if you live in specific states. | Ashraf Shazly/AFP/Getty Images

The National Cancer Institute tells us that, based on 2008-2012 cases, the number of new cases of cancer is 454.8 per 100,000 U.S. residents per year. The number of cancer deaths — also based on information dating 2008-2012 — is 171.2 per 100,000 people per year .

Certain cancers are more common

Doctor talking to a patient in an office.

These specific cancers affect Americans most.| Minerva Studio/iStock/Getty Images

According to the American Cancer Society, breast cancer is the most common cancer in the United States. Information from early 2017 projected that more than 255,000 new cases were expected in the United States for the calendar year. Lung cancer and prostate cancer are also incredibly common, and often more common in certain states than other.

Why different states have different rates

Young depressed cancer patient standing in front of hospital window.

A combination of genes, lifestyle and location will affect your cancer risks. | Prudkov/iStock/Getty Images

Health professionals believe that lifestyle choices have a large impact on instances of cancer, and that the differing lifestyle norms in different parts of the country contribute. States in the eastern part of the country have higher rates of cancer incidences than those out west, and it is believe that cuisine and overall attitudes towards health and fitness play a large roll. Furthermore, states with less screening and prevention initiatives also have a higher risk.

The death rate differs as well

A nurse giving a patient a shot.

It’s important to think about these factors. | iStock.com

Just because a state has a high rate of cancer diagnoses doesn’t mean it has an equally high number of cancer-related deaths. For example, a map created by the CDC reveals that New York has one of the highest cancer diagnosis rates in the country, but has a low mortality rate. Conversely, Indiana has a lower diagnosis rate, but higher death rate.

The state with the highest rate

A doctor holding a patient's hands.

Research shows that Kentucky has high lung cancer fatalities. | Megaflopp

Kentucky has the highest cancer rate of any U.S. state at 511.7 incidences per 100,000 residents. It also has the highest death rate at 199.3 deaths per 100,000 people. Lung cancer is the most prevalent in Kentucky, where over 7,800 deaths every year are attributed to smoking-related diseases alone.

Other states

Male patient speaking to doctor.

These states have started focusing on prevention and early diagnosis. | Monkeybusinessimages/iStock/Getty Images

Delaware has the second highest rate of cancer in the U.S. although they have reportedly increased their screening and prevention programs to get their numbers down. New York has the third highest rate, although the mortality rate is much lower. New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island round out the top five states with the most instances of cancer.

Survival rate

Medication seen in a drip in a hospital room.

These discoveries have helped people in high risk states prepare, diagnose and prevent certain cancers. | iStock.com

As debilitating as cancer is, there is also hope as modern medicine advances. In fact, the American Cancer Society tells us that the “five-year survival rate” for cancer survivors has increased over the last three decades. Cancer screenings and developed prevention programs can go a long way to help lowering cancer risk, no matter what state someone lives in. Mayo Clinic suggests making lifestyle choices, like an improved diet, in an effort to get risk down.

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