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CDC report shows cancer death rates in Appalachia higher than national

Previous studies have shown that rural Americans often have less money, less education and less access to healthcare than other Americans.

A report released June 21, 2002, by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and conducted by researchers from the University of Kentucky and Penn State University confirms an unfortunate consequence - residents of Appalachia, a largely rural area following the spine of the Appalachian mountains and including a large part of Pennsylvania, are at higher risk of dying from cancer.

For example, those in Pennsylvania who fall within the geographic boundaries of Appalachia were shown to be at greater risk of death from colorectal cancer. (See report and map of Appalachia at http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5124a3.htm).

"Whereas some may feel that cancer mortality is high in urban areas because of pollution and various behavioral factors, this report documents that people of Appalachia, particularly those in rural Appalachia, also have high rates of cancer mortality," said Gene Lengerich, VMD, associate professor of health evaluation sciences, Penn State College of Medicine, and research director for the National Cancer Institute-funded Appalachian Cancer Network (ACN) which conducted this study.

Led by the University of Kentucky and in partnership with West Virginia University and Penn State University, the ACN directs cancer research and research-based interventions toward rural areas and medically underserved people. Both the College of Medicine and the College of Agricultural Sciences at Penn State are actively involved with the ACN.

Researchers at University of Kentucky and Penn State University in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention analyzed mortality data from 1994-1998 to compile the report. The data showed that the death rates for all cancers in Appalachia,
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Contact: Valerie Gliem
vgliem@psu.edu
717-531-8604
Penn State
28-Jun-2002


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