August 05, 2008

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.

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.

Credit: (CDC.GOV)


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.


[ pagebreak ]Age-Adjusted Invasive Breast Cancer Incidence and Death Rates by State for 2004

StateFemale Breast Cancer Incidence Rate for 2004*Female Breast Cancer Death Rate for 2004*Alabama109.124.1Alaska113.118.7Arizona102.921.9Arkansas106.124.9California117.923.2Colorado118.122.8Connecticut129.924.7Delaware115.726.2District of Columbia129.427.6Florida109.223.5Georgia121.526.0Hawaii119.915.6Idaho105.121.9Illinois117.925.4Indiana108.124.0Iowa119.522.2Kansas119.122.4Kentucky116.524.3Louisiana120.027.6Maine123.021.2MarylandArea did not meet USCS data quality criteria26.9Massachusetts134.024.1Michigan119.024.3Minnesota123.722.4Mississippi108.527.3Missouri117.525.5Montana111.524.3Nebraska123.723.4Nevada106.425.8New Hampshire127.923.5New Jersey129.525.9New Mexico108.223.5New York122.824.3North Carolina115.825.6North Dakota121.221.7Ohio118.927.0Oklahoma125.022.5Oregon131.524.1Pennsylvania123.127.3Rhode Island130.121.6South Carolina112.523.1South Dakota109.422.0Tennessee109.325.7Texas109.523.2Utah113.722.7Vermont127.624.2Virginia121.125.4Washington130.723.3West Virginia114.224.7Wisconsin114.923.4Wyoming113.324.5 *Rates are per 100,000 and are age-adjusted to the 2000 U.S. standard population.
†Source: U.S. Cancer Statistics Working Group. United States Cancer Statistics: 2004 Incidence and Mortality. Atlanta (GA): Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and National Cancer Institute; 2007.