Can Your State Give You Breast Cancer?

Does living in Massachusetts increase your risk of getting breast cancer? Would moving to Louisiana or the District of Columbia be a deadly proposition? Just glancing at the Centers for Disease Control's data on state-by-state rates of diagnosis and death from breast cancer might cause you to think so. But even if your state ranks high on either list, that doesn't necessarily mean that you as an individual have anything more to worry about.

Breast Cancer in the Family
Breast Cancer Family Extra Screening Doctor-Patient Video
High-risk women need a closer look  Watch video
Factors such as general access to screening facilities and the overall quality of health care can have a powerful influence on a states incidence and death rates. And other risk factors—such as late childbearing or choosing not to breastfeed—tend to be unequally distributed across the United States. Above all, it's important to remember that these collective measures may—or may not—have any impact on your own situation. When looking at your own risk, consider individual factors first: your age, family history, and aspects of your lifestyle that you can control. And be vigilant about screening, because regular mammograms, clinical exams, and self-examinations can catch tumors early and dramatically improve your prognosis, regardless of where you live.

Female Breast Cancer Incidence Rates,* by State, 2004†
The darker shading in the map below represents a higher incidence of breast cancer (per 100,000 women) in that state in 2004.

Female Breast Cancer Death Rates,* by State, 2004†
The darker shading in the map below represents higher breast cancer death rates (per 100,000 women) in that state in 2004.

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Last Updated: July 30, 2008

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