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Cancer in Rural America

Updated April 21, 2023

Cancer death rates have decreased nationwide. However, recent data out of CDC shows a slower reduction in cancer death rates in rural America (a decrease of 1.0 percent per year) compared with urban America (a decrease of 1.6 percent per year). This was driven in part by high death rates from lung, colorectal, prostate, and cervical cancers. Rates of new cases for lung cancer, colorectal cancer, and cervical cancer were also higher in rural counties. In contrast, rural counties were found to have lower rates of new cancers of the female breast and prostate.While geography alone can’t predict cancer risk, it can impact prevention, diagnosis and treatment opportunities. Many cancer cases and deaths are preventable with targeted public health efforts and interventions.