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||Maryland's high cancer mortality rate: a review of contributing demographic factors.
||Md Med J
||For many years, Maryland has ranked among the top states in cancer mortality. This study analyzed mortality data from the National Center for Health Statistics (CDC-Wonder) to help explain Maryland's cancer rate and rank. Age-adjusted rates are based on deaths per 100,000 population from 1991 through 1995. Rates and ranks overall, and stratified by age, are calculated for total cancer mortality, as well as for four major sites: lung, breast, prostate, and colorectal. Because states differ in their racial/gender mix, race/gender rates among states are also compared. Although Maryland ranks seventh in overall cancer mortality, its rates and rank by race and gender subpopulation are less high. For those under 75, white men ranked 26th, black men ranked 20th, and black and white women ranked 12th and 10th, respectively. Maryland's overall rank, as with any state, is a function of the rates of its racial and gender subpopulations and the relative size of these groups in the state. Many of the disparities between Maryland's overall high cancer rank and its lower rank by subpopulation also characterize the major cancer sites. Although a stratified presentation of cancer rates and ranks may be more favorable to Maryland, it should not be used to downplay the attention cancer mortality in Maryland deserves.