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Missoula Measures - Cancer


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.

How are we doing?

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.

Missoula’s population has experienced rapid expansion through in-migration. In analyzing the above cancer data, therefore, consideration must be given to the many unknowns regarding the background of current residents, especially as regards environmental risk factors for cancer. Also, cancer oncologists in Missoula believe there is still underreporting both in Missoula and statewide, making comparisons with other communities suspect.


graph incidence rate of top 10 cancer sites US, Montana, Missoula 


More data

graph cancer cases Montana and US 1997-2006

Montana Central Tumor Registry, MDPHHS, Vital Statistics.


graph fatality rate for various cancers US, Montana 2009


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

graph US high school students use of tanning beds and sunscreen, and Healthy People 2020 target



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

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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