A report from the Arizona Cancer Registry says that the state has consistently found fewer incidents of cancer diagnoses and deaths compared to national averages from 2000 to 2009. Rates in Arizona and across the country have also dipped slightly in recent years.
The registry report, which looked at cancer data collected around the state, reports an average of 27,175 cancer diagnoses each year in 2008 and 2009. Cancer-related deaths averaged out to 10,055 for those years, the most recent ones reported.
Lung cancer is most common cancer diagnosed in the state, representing 54 and 56 cancer deaths per 100,000, or 2,664 deaths annually. Interestingly, Arizona has among the nation's fewest number of smokers.
Prostate cancer is the most common form of cancer diagnosed in men, and breast cancer for females. After lung cancer, these are also the second-highest cancer-related deaths. Colorectal cancer is the third-leading cancer diagnosis and cancer-related death for both men and women. However, rates are lower for all these cancers in Arizona compared to the rest of the nation.
Blacks and non-Hispanic whites have the highest rates of cancer-related deaths, 162 and 155 per 100,000 deaths in Arizona.
Cancer rates are highest in Mohave County and lowest in Santa Cruz County, which is also the smallest county. Rates are also on the low side in Apache, Navajo, and Gila Counties. Mohave County also has the highest cancer death rate, while neighboring Coconino County has the lowest.
Cancer kills more patients in their mid-70s through mid-80s than any other age group. Rates fall dramatically after age 85. Deaths from cancer dropped among men and women between 2000 and 2009. The death rate for men hit its lowest point in 2009, at 179 per 100,000. The death rate for women rose slightly between 2008 and 2009, from 127.9 to 128.3.
The state Department of Health Services maintains cancer registry reports and fact sheets available online.