Researchers at Case Western Reserve University have found that risk factors historically linked to cancer mortality vary regionally across the United States (lower 48 states)—such that they believe those differences should be considered in developing tailored public-health interventions.
For example, western states have the lowest rates of cancer deaths per 100,000 residents.
Among those who do die from any type of cancer, risk factors such as obesity, sedentary lifestyle and diabetes outweigh smoking and drinking as principal behavioural risk factors.
Meanwhile, in southern states, where deaths from cancer per 100,000 residents are the highest, smoking is the leading behavioural risk factor linked to cancer mortality.
The researchers focused on a broad range of risk factors known to both contribute to and help prevent cancer deaths, including health behaviours and socioeconomic characteristics, demographic and environmental factors, comorbidity prevalence, cancer screenings and receipt of treatment and survivorship care.
“This innovative approach to data analysis—using existing behavioural risk-factor data and a novel location-focused machine-learning method—shows the power of more refined data analysis with practical applications in addressing cancer care and prevention,” said the study’s lead author Weichuan Dong, a health services researcher with Population Cancer Analytics Shared Resource at the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center.
Source: Case Western Reserve University
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