National Cancer Rates Declining, Jefferson County Incidence Ratio Shows Little Change

Unlike national cancer rates that are declining, Jefferson County incidence ratio has not seen a significant change.

Data from the State Cancer Profiles website shows that while cancer incidence rates have continued to decline slightly at the national level, there was no significant change in the overall cancer incidence rate in Pennsylvania or in our area.

The State Cancer Profiles website uses cancer incidence data provided by the National Program of Cancer Registries Cancer Surveillance System (NPCR-CSS); the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; and the National Cancer Institute’s Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) Program.

The site uses five years of compiled data to calculate age-adjusted incidence rates per 100,000 people.

The national incidence rate for the most recent available five year period, 2011-2015, declined slightly from the previous five-year period, the rate in Pennsylvania’s, and locally in Jefferson County, remained stable. Other surrounding counties, including Clarion, Armstrong, and Indiana, all retained stable incidence rates, as well. The only local county that saw a significant decline in overall incidence rates was Forest County.

In terms of Pennsylvania counties, Jefferson County’s incidence rate falls in the middle range, ranking 30th out of 67 counties, with an incidence rate of 477.8/100,000. The county with the highest rate was Montour County with a stable incidence rate of 531.1/100,000. Forest County came in as the county with the lowest incidence rate at a declining rate of 373.8/100,000.

Here are the incidence rates for other counties in our region, all of which remain stable, in the order of where they rank among counties in Pennsylvania:

3rd – Elk County 520.8/100,000
10th – Mercer County 496.0/100,000
13th – Crawford County 494.4/100,000
21st – Butler County 487.1/100,000
25th – Venango County 481.9/100,000
35th – Armstrong County 473.6/100,000
43rd – Warren County 467.8/100,000
51st – Clearfield County 456.7/100,000
53rd – Clarion County 455.0/100,000
56th – McKean County 448.4/100,000
63rd – Indiana County 426.3/100,000

Though Pennsylvania saw a decline in overall cancer incidence rates in the most recent data, it still ranks as the state with the third highest overall incidence rate. Pennsylvania’s overall rate was 481.7/100,000, which was topped only by Delaware, with a rate of 493.5/100,000, and Kentucky, with a rate of 509.9/100,000. In contrast, New Mexico has the lowest overall incidence rate of 369.7/100,000.

On a national level, not only are overall cancer incidence rates in decline, the mortality rate due to cancer is in decline as well.

According to a January 2019 press release from The American Cancer Society, “Since its peak of 215.1 deaths (per 100,000 population) in 1991, the cancer death rate has dropped steadily by approximately 1.5% per year to 156.0 in 2016, an overall decline of 27%. This translates to an estimated 2,629,200 fewer cancer deaths than would have occurred if mortality rates had remained at their peak.”

This is a multi-part series focusing on cancer in our region. Check back next week for Part Two.

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