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Missoula Measures - Cancer

graph cancer incidence rates Missoula County, Montana, US Most common, 2008-2012


graph cancer incidence rate, Less Common, Missoula County, Montana, US 2008-2012 

CDC - State Cancer Profiles


Why this topic?

Cancer accounts for one out of every five deaths in the United States. It is not one disease, but a constellation of more than 100 different diseases, each characterized by the uncontrolled growth and spread of abnormal cells. Cancer may strike at any age, though it does so more frequently with advancing age. Research has demonstrated that many cancers can be prevented or, if detected and treated at early stages, cured.

Advances in cancer research, detection, and treatment have resulted in a decline in both incidence and death rates for all cancers. Although more than half of the people who develop cancer will be alive in five years, cancer remains a leading cause of death in the United States, second only to heart disease. In the coming decade, as the number of cancer survivors approaches 12 million, understanding survivors’ health status and behaviors will become increasingly important.

Healthy People 2020


Cancer is the leading cause of death among Montana residents, closely followed by heart disease as the second leading cause of death. Four sites -- prostate, female breast, lung and bronchus, and colon and rectum -- accounted for 55% of all reported cancers in Montana in the interval 2007-2011.

From 2007-2011, Montana's cancer burden was equal to that of the United States as a whole for all sites combined and for many individual sites.

Many cancers are preventable by:

Montana DPHHS’s State of the State’s Health reports that each year Montana has about 5,000 new cases of cancer. In Montana, as in the nation as a whole, prostate cancer (17%), lung cancer (14%), female breast cancer (14%), and colorectal cancer (10%) are the most prevalent diagnoses.

Breast cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer in Missoula County followed by prostate cancer—probably due to increased accessibility to more sensitive testing for each of these. Lung cancer runs a close third.

For most cancers, Missoula County rates for both diagnoses and deaths run lower than the U. S. average. However deaths from lung cancer are almost double those for any other neoplasm site for both Missoula County and Montana.

Because a large number of people move to Missoula from other areas in the country no real connection can be made between cancer diagnosis and place of residence.  Also, cancer oncologists in Missoula believe there is still underreporting both in Missoula and statewide, so no accurate comparison can be made with other communities.

Montana Cancer Control Programs

More data

graph incidence of cancer by location, top 13 cancers, Montana and US, 2007-2011

Montana Central Tumor Registry, MDPHHS, Vital Statistics.

In Montana between 2003-2007, melanoma was the 10th leading cause of cancer deaths and the 7th most common type of cancer.

In 2013, approximately 14% of high school students in Missoula County, Montana and the US report use of a tanning bed.  YRBS

graph Montana cancer incidence rate all races and Indians



Related Measures

Breast & Cervical Cancer

Colorectal Cancer

Related websites

Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services - Vital Statistics

Montana Tumor Registry - info on many types of cancer

Montana Cancer Control Program

Missoula Cancer Control Program

American Cancer Society

American Society of Clinical Oncology

Center for Disease Control: Cancer

National Cancer Institute

National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship

Links to health data, statistics and information from many national sources.


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