While most of the United States has experienced large declines in colorectal cancer death rates in recent years, progress in three large “hot spots” has lagged, according to a study published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.
The lower Mississippi Delta, encompassing 94 counties, was identified as the hot spot with the highest colorectal cancer death rates, followed by 107 counties in west central Appalachia and 37 counties in eastern Virginia/North Carolina. The lower Mississippi Delta hot spot had colorectal cancer death rates that were 40 percent higher than the nonhot spot areas in the country during 2009-2011. Rates in the hot spots in west central Appalachia and eastern Virginia/North Carolina were 18 percent and 9 percent higher, respectively, than those of the nonhot spot areas in the country during this time period.
“These areas are low-hanging fruit for colorectal cancer screening interventions,” said lead author Rebecca Siegel, MPH, director of surveillance information at the American Cancer Society. “Targeted interventions, like using people within the community to talk to their neighbors about screening, are likely to be effective. We know interventions work because we have an example in Delaware, where they implemented statewide colorectal cancer screening and effectively eliminated disparities in less than a decade.”
Cover image courtesy of the American Cancer Society.
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