(CNN) – Some good news from the journal of the American medical association. Overall cancer deaths in the United States have dropped 20-percent since 1980. Unfortunately, the study also found certain clusters where the opposite is true.
A new study breaks down cancer deaths in the US county-by-county. It reveals clusters lagging behind national cancer prevention efforts. In these maps, red shows what the study calls cancer hot spots.
Deaths from all cancers in 2014 were highest along the Mississippi river, near the Kentucky-west Virginia border, in western Alaska and in the south in general. Deaths were lowest in places like Utah and Colorado.
According to the study, reasons for the gap could include a higher prevalence of risk factors like smoking and obesity. Prevention and screening in some counties can lag behind others. So normally treatable cancers go undetected
Limited health care access and limited awareness of cancer risks can also affect the quality of treatment. Researchers say we should look to Delaware as an example of how to take action.
When the state noticed an alarming rate of cancer deaths they began an initiative to increase screening rates among minorities, created a program to treat cancer for the uninsured and sent nurses and other health workers into communities.
In a decade, the state went from having the second highest rate of cancer deaths. To the fourteenth.