Residents of the largely rural region of the eastern United States called Appalachia carry a heavy burden for certain cancers, a new study shows.
"We've found that the occurrence, or the incidence, of new cancer of the lung, colon, rectum and cervix were significantly increased in residents of the large portion of Appalachia in Kentucky, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia," said Eugene Lengerich, V.M.D., M.S., principal investigator of the study, and associate professor, Department of Health Evaluation Sciences, and with Penn State Cancer Institute, Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center. "These findings support the National Cancer Institute's designation of residents of Appalachia as a population experiencing an excessive cancer burden."
This study titled, "Cancer incidence in Kentucky, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia: Disparities in Appalachia," was presented today (Nov. 18, 2003) at the American Public Health Association (APHA) 131st Annual Meeting and Exposition held Nov. 15-19 in San Francisco.
Previously, Lengerich, who is research director of the Appalachia Cancer Network (ACN), and colleagues from the ACN reported in a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that cancer death rates for residents of Appalachia were higher than national rates. (Report, map of Appalachia, http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5124a3.htm)
"Mortality data is well-accepted as a valid measure of disease burden," Lengerich said. "However, our country is really just developing a comprehensive national system to monitor incidence of cancer. We analyzed data from Kentucky, West Virginia and Pennsylvania because these Appalachian states have high-quality, complete data."
For the incidence study, Lengerich compared data from the cancer registries of the three states to the National Cancer Institute's Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SE
Contact: Valerie Gliem