Public Health and Primary CareBRIEF REPORT

Cancer Mortality Trends in Medically Underserved Counties in Virginia

Katie N. Kennedy, OMS III; Susan L. Meacham, RD, PhD; Suporn Sukpraprut, PhD; Stephanie S. Kwakye, OMS III; Kristy K. Atkinson, OMS III; Brooke N. Bailey, BS; Danielle N. Chavis, PA-S; and Brittany E. Thompson, BS
Notes and Affiliations
Notes and Affiliations

Accepted: February 3, 2016

Published: June 1, 2016

J Osteopath Med; 116(6): 370-375

Context: Cancer mortality rates in the United States have improved during the past 40 years. The improvement in mortality rates is not equal for all types of cancer or all geographic locations, however.

Objectives: To compare trends in cancer mortality rates in Virginia counties from 2005 through 2009.

Methods: Publicly available data from the National Cancer Institute, the State Cancer Profile, and the Virginia Department of Health were accessed for this analysis. For all counties in Virginia with all-cancer and lung cancer mortality data available, the authors compared counties considered medically underserved areas (VMUAs) with non-VMUAs to examine trends in cancer mortality rates that increased, remained stable, or decreased from 2005 through 2009. The significance level for all data was set at P≤.05.

Results: Of 136 counties in Virginia, 134 had all-cancer and 123 had lung cancer mortality data available. The VMUAs had a 48% lower decreasing all-cancer mortality rate than non-VMUAs (13 [26%] vs 37 [74%], respectively; P=.004). Non-VMUAs had a 33.3% higher stable all-cancer mortality rate than VMUAs (50 [66.6%] vs 25 [33.3%], respectively; P=.004) and a 55.2% higher lung cancer mortality rate (17 [22.4%] vs 59 [77.6%], respectively; P<.001).

Conclusions: The all-cancer and lung cancer mortality rates were found to either remain stable or, in the case of all-cancer mortality, to increase in VMUAs.

Read Full Article