DPH Releases Annual Cancer Incidence & Mortality Report

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Delaware’s cancer death rate continues to decline. The Division of Public Health says that between 2005 and 2019, mortality rates for cancer at all locations throughout the body has decreased an average of 1.7% per year – both in Delaware and the U-S. However Delaware remains 15th highest in the U-S for the the period of 2015-2019 – which is unchanged from previous periods. Delaware also ranks 13th highest nationally for cancer incidence during the same period. Delaware has improved in rankings over the last two five-year periods measured.

In a release from the Division of Public Health:

DPH presented its data report, Cancer Incidence and Mortality in Delaware, 2015-2019, to the Delaware Cancer Consortium (DCC) on October 10.  These cancer statistics reflect incidence and mortality data for the five-year period 2015-2019.  The report includes new incidence and mortality tables for all-site cancer and 23 site-specific cancer types. The tables include age-adjusted rates for cancer type by both gender and race with comparative U.S. statistics. 

DPH compares Delaware’s cancer incidence and mortality statistics for 2015-2019 to those of the U.S. over the same period.  DPH also summarizes how Delaware and U.S. cancer rates have changed from 2005 to 2019.

Additionally, DPH issued a compendium report, Census Tract-Level Cancer Incidence in Delaware, 2015-2019, which presents incidence rates for all-site cancer by census tract.  In the 15-year period between 2005 and 2019, incidence rates for all-site cancer decreased an average of 1.1% per year in Delaware and an average of 0.7% per year in the U.S.  While progress continues to be made, Delaware’s 2015-2019 all-site cancer incidence rate (468.8 per 100,000 population) remains 4% higher than the comparable U.S. rate (449.0 per 100,000 population).  Delaware currently ranks 13th among the states for highest all-site cancer incidence. Delaware has improved in rankings over the last two five-year periods measured – 8th in 2014-2018 and 13th in 2015-2019. Prior to these years, Delaware had been ranked 2nd for incidence cancer rates for some time.  A portion of the most recent progress may be attributed to fewer people accessing screenings during the COVID-19 pandemic.

This report includes new comprehensive cancer tables for all cancer sites combined (all-site cancer), as well as the 23 top site-specific cancer types for both incidence and mortality, Cancer Incidence and Mortality Data Tables for Delaware, 2015-2019. The tables include age-adjusted rates for cancer type by both gender and race along with comparative statistics to the U.S.

Between 2005 and 2019, incidence rates for all-site cancer decreased an average of 1.8% per year among non-Hispanic White males and remained stable for non-Hispanic White females.  During that same period, incidence rates for all-site cancer decreased an average of 3.1% per year among non-Hispanic Black males and remained stable for non-Hispanic Black females. Between 2005 and 2019, incidence rates for all-site cancer were stable among both Hispanic males and Hispanic females. 

“It’s important that Delawareans get their recommended cancer screenings, and I encourage everyone to learn when to get yours, said Governor Carney. “We know that the earlier cancer is detected, the more treatable it is. I commend the Delaware Cancer Consortium and the Division of Public Health for coordinating our state’s cancer prevention advocacy and education. After decades of dedicated early detection and screening, it’s reassuring to see improvement in certain areas.”

Between 2005 and 2019, mortality rates for all-site cancer decreased an average of 1.7% per year in both Delaware and the U.S. Delaware’s current ranking of 15th among the states for highest all-site cancer mortality is the same ranking as in the 2021 report, which examined the 2013-2017 time period. This represents considerable continued progress since the 1990s, when the state ranked second.    

Between 2005 and 2019, mortality rates for all-site cancer decreased by an average of 1.6% per year among non-Hispanic White males and decreased an average of 1.8% per year among non-Hispanic White females. Between 2005 and 2019, mortality rates for all-site cancer decreased an average of 2.5% per year among non-Hispanic Black males and remained stable for non-Hispanic Black females. Between 2005 and 2019, all-site cancer mortality rates were stable among both Hispanic males and females.   

“The data show us clearly that early screening and prevention are critical for bringing down cancer mortality rates. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused many people to delay cancer screenings and other preventive chronic disease care, and economically disadvantaged communities are typically impacted the most,” said Molly Magarik, Secretary of the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services. “Free cancer screenings are available to eligible Delawareans, and we know they can lead to earlier diagnosis and to saving lives.”  

The top four cancers for incidence are: female breast (136.1 per 100,000 population), prostate (125.9 per 100,000 population), lung and bronchus (61.7 per 100,000 population), colorectal (37.1 per 100,000 population). The top four cancers for mortality are: lung and bronchus (40.9 per 100,000 population), female breast (21.2 per 100,000 population), prostate (17.0 per 100,000 population) and colorectal (13.0 per 100,000 population). These are also the same trends in the U.S.  

Among females, breast cancer had the highest incidence (136.1 per 100,000 population) and lung cancer had the highest mortality (34.5 per 100,000 population). Among males, prostate cancer had the highest incidence (125.9 per 100,000 population) and lung cancer had the highest mortality (49.1 per 100,000 population).  

Among the top four cancers affecting Delaware, non-Hispanic Black Delawareans are disproportionately more affected by breast, prostate, and colorectal cancers compared to non-Hispanic White and Hispanic Delawareans.  Lung cancer affects more non-Hispanic White Delawareans.  

Non-Hispanic Black women (27.5 per 100,000 population) have a higher mortality rate for breast cancer compared to non-Hispanic White women (20.5 per 100,000 population). Non-Hispanic Black men (32.5 per 100,000 population) have a higher mortality rate for prostate cancer compared to non-Hispanic White men (14.9 per 100,000 population).  Non-Hispanic White Delawareans die from lung cancer at a higher rate (43.0 per 100,000 population) compared to non-Hispanic Black (39.8 per 100,000 population) and Hispanic (18.8 per 100,000 population) Delawareans.    

“We are encouraged at the reductions in cancer incidence and mortality seen among Black male Delawareans when it comes to all-site cancer,” said Interim DPH Director Dr. Rick Hong. “Despite this, we know that disparities continue to exist, and DPH is committed to working to reduce those disparities by addressing the social determinants of health that contribute to them.”

RESOURCES  

  • In addition to cancer data, the Cancer Incidence and Mortality in Delaware, 2015-2019 report alsoincludes information about screening and historical data trends. The Census Tract-Level Cancer Incidence in Delaware, 2015-2019 compendium report presentsanalyses of all-site cancer incidence rates by census tract. The Cancer Incidence and Mortality Data Tables for Delaware, 2015-2019 provides a quick view of the 23 top site-specific cancer types for both incidence and mortality.
  • To learn how to prevent, detect, and treat chronic diseases and obtain assistance with a cancer screening, visit the Healthy Delaware website at HealthyDelaware.org or call the Delaware Comprehensive Cancer Control Program at 302-744-1040. For more information about the DCC, visit https://www.healthydelaware.org/Consortium.
  • The Screening for Life (SFL) program provides payment for cancer screening tests to qualified Delaware adults. Eligible individuals can receive mammograms and clinical breast exams, Pap tests and screening tests for prostate, colorectal, and lung cancer when recommended by a doctor. SFL also provides lung cancer screenings for eligible men and women. Contact SFL at https://www.dhss.delaware.gov/dph/dpc/sfl.html or call 302-744-1040 to speak with a screening nurse navigator.
  • Delaware residents 18 and older who want help quitting smoking should contact the Delaware Quitline at 1-866-409-1858 or QuitSupport.com
  • For population health, environmental and social determinants of health data at the smallest geographical area available, visit the My Healthy Community data portal at de.gov/healthycommunity

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