CT has 13th highest cancer rate, but it’s going down

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In 2019 Connecticut’s per person rate of new cancers was higher than all but twelve other states, according to a new analysis by USAFacts. Massachusetts ranked far better at 33rd but New York (5th), New Jersey (7th), and Rhode Island (10th) all did worse.

Cancer was Connecticut’s second highest cause of death in 2019, just behind heart disease. One in five (22%) Connecticut cancers were in the lung, trachea, or bronchus, 2.7 times the next highest cancer site.

Survival rates vary substantially between types of cancer. Nationally, 98.4% of thyroid cancer patients survived while the survival rate for pancreatic cancer was only 11.5%, from 2012 through 2018. At 22.9%, lung cancer survival is at the low end among cancers. Disparities in cancer survival are narrowing nationally. While still higher than other races, Black Americans’ cancer mortality fell from 27% in 2000 to 16% in 2020. However, the rate of new cancer diagnoses was highest for non-Hispanic White Americans in 2019.

We are making progress. From 2006 to 2019, Connecticut cancer rates per capita dropped 11% and cancer deaths are down 24%. There is very good evidence on cancer health risks and what we can do to lower cancer levels. Many cancers are preventable and can be caught early with screenings. Unfortunately, only 13% of Connecticut cancers are caught by screens. We can do better