Cancer incidents and death rates in the United States

Cancer incidents and death rates in the United States


What are some potential factors in cancer rates and their associated deaths? Cancer has risen to become one of the United States top concerns in the medical field. Although cancer is not a new disease, it was only first recognized as a cause of death and illness a few hundred years ago by Percivall Pott. Since its discovery in 1775 there have been many new types of cancer that have been diagnosed; breast cancer, leukemia, and Melanoma to name a few. In its early stages of discovery, it was unclear what the causes of cancer were, or how it could be treated. Although research is still being conducted on cancer treatment and its causes, there have been significant strides made in recent years to help reduce the rate of cancer patients and cancer-caused deaths.

Data Analysis and visual production:

Cancer Rates:

Cancer is a widespread disease that could potentially affect anyone. However, when analyzing and comparing data on reported cancer incidents and deaths, it becomes evident that people who live in certain states may have a higher risk of being affected by the disease. As seen in Figure 1, there is a distinct difference in the rate of people affected by cancer in different states.
Figure 1:                                                                                                   Figure 2:                                   Figure 3:

By organizing the data into the top 12 states and bottom 12 states as seen in figure 2 and 3 respectively, it becomes clear that there are lower cancer rates among the south western states – with some outliers such as Florida, Alaska, and Virginia. The states with the highest cancer rates however don’t seem to be grouped in any specific area. There are perhaps variables impacting such a high cancer rate, but geographical location does not seem to be among those reasons. Further analysis is needed to determine how different variables impact cancer rates.

Death Rates:

In contrast to the rate of cancer incidents, the rate of death by cancer-caused diseases are much easier to identify by geographical location. As shown in Figure 4 almost all the states with the highest rates of cancer-caused deaths are in the mid-eastern part of the United States.

Figure 4:
Death rates.png

Of these states, it’s not surprising that Kentucky has the highest death rate in the United States since it also has the highest rate of diagnosed cancer patients. Following Kentucky, cancer-caused death rates see a semi-linear decline – all the way down to the lowest, healthiest state in the nation – Utah. Similarly, the lowest death rates in the nation appear grouped together in the area that would be expected. They are in the south western united states – as this is the area which has the lowest cancer rates.

The interesting thing to note with death rates is that the highest death rates have a distinctive geographical location. That is different from the geographical variation shown with overall cancer rates. The variables which contribute to the concentration of death rates are beyond the scope of this article. However, some variables are theorized to have an impact on cancer such as the wealth of a state, tobacco use, and KFC. Admittedly this theory has a relatively low correlation to the death rate by itself. There is, however, a fairly well-established theory that the wealthy tend to suffer from different types of cancer than the poor. The poor tend to catch deadlier types of cancer than the rich – likely due to behavioral habits like smoking, drug abuse, and alcoholism.

After briefly looking into the different types of behavioral habits that contribute to cancer, there seems to be a very strong correlation with death causing cancers and smoking habits. As the visual in figure 5 shows, there is a high percentage of cigarette smoking in those same states where death-causing cancer is more prevalent.

Figure 5:
Figure 5.png


In review, it was determined that some states have a much higher cancer rate than others and that within those states a comparison was made with the percent of death rates with those who have cancer. It was determined that there is not a strong positive correlation between the two. When the tobacco rates were observed there were surprisingly high cancer-causing death rates among those states that also had a high percentage of cigarette consumption. This leads to a conclusion that the percentage of tobacco consumption and the death rate caused by forms of cancer had a direct correlation. Although it is no secret that cigarette smoke has always had negative health consequences, the data in this analysis provides an extra incentive to quit smoking for those who wish to reduce the risk of death-causing cancer. After analyzing the data above it can be assumed that many cases of cancer, death-causing or otherwise, can be avoided by a smoke-free lifestyle.

This was produced for a class project and uploaded here by the author. This is not meant to be for professional usage but just interesting content. We did not do regression analysis on this data.

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