Delaware Releases New Cancer Mortality and Incidence Report - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Delaware Releases New Cancer Mortality and Incidence Report

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Cancer mortality rates are down significantly for Delaware (Source: WBOC) Cancer mortality rates are down significantly for Delaware (Source: WBOC)

DOVER, Del. - Delaware's annual Cancer Incidence and Mortality Report was released on Tuesday morning, at a press conference in Dover. The report showed that the state has made a lot of progress over the last decade, cutting the cancer mortality rate by approximately 14-percent. 

The reduction is relatively similar to a trend nationwide, as screening has become a larger emphasis. The state is still lagging behind most of the country though, with a rate of 181 deaths per 100,000 people. This rate is 5.8 percent larger than the national average, as Delaware has the 14th highest mortality rate in the country. 

Epidemiologist Zeinab Baba said that the report shows a great deal of progress, in particular for African Americans, which have had their mortality rate drop by approximately 22 percent. 

"Delaware is improving," she said. "Just because we do have incredible screening programs. And if you look at the data, the changes we have made are comparable to the change in the U.S."

Director of the Division of Public Health, Karyl Rattay, said that bringing the rates down will involve changing people's bad habits, such as smoking. Rattay said that 85 to 90-percent of lung cancers are caused by tobacco use.

"Lung Cancer remains the number one cause of cancer deaths in our state," she said. "And although we're making some improvements in smoking, we still have nearly 25 percent of Delaware adults that are smoking tobacco."

Rattay said another focus would be on deterring the spread of e-cigarettes. According to numbers from the DPH, approximately 40 percent of public high school students have tried e-cigarettes in Delaware. 

Detection Increases:

Meanwhile, there have been major increases in detection in Delaware. Baba said that this is why the "incidence rate" is so high in the first state.

"We're catching it early," she said.

Connie Holdridge, from the Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition, said that screenings are way up, including mammograms for breast cancer. She said that 80-percent of women over 40 have had a mammogram in the past two years.

"If we catch it early," she said. "Then it's smaller. It hasn't invaded other tissues. And we can remove it and do other treatments. And the treatments can be less invasive."

Mortality Rate Changes: (From 1998-2002 to 2008-2012)

- Delaware Cancer Death Rate: - 14%

- National Cancer Death Rate: - 14%

- Delaware Men Cancer Death Rate: - 17%

- Delaware Women Cancer Death Rate: - 13%

- Delaware African America Cancer Death Rate: - 21.9%

- Delaware Caucasian Cancer Death Rate: - 13.9%

 - Delaware Breast Cancer Death Rate: - 22%

- Delaware Colorectal Cancer Death Rate: - 31%

- Delaware Lung Cancer Death Rate: - 13%

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