Patients in Southeastern US face higher GI cancer mortality rates

GI cancer patients in the Southeastern United States face higher mortality rates than in other geographic regions in the U.S., suggests new research from the University of Calgary in Alberta, Canada, published in Gastroenterology. 

The study, which was published online April 25, surveyed data from 3,147 counties in the U.S. between 2010 to 2019 and identified counties that were in the top 5 percent of age-adjusted mortality rates for esophageal, gastric, pancreatic and colorectal cancers. 

The states of Mississippi, Kentucky, Arkansas, Georgia and Louisiana contributed to about 41.2 percent of the counties with the top 5 percent mortality rate from pancreatic cancer, and 48.8 percent of counties with the top 5 percent mortality rates from colorectal cancer.

The study suggests that this could be correlated with a higher percentage of cigarette smokers in that region, prevalence of chronic health problems like diabetes, and the rural characteristics of the counties. 

"Our findings support continued public health efforts to reduce smoking use and improve care for rural patients, which may contribute to a reduction in disparities in GI cancer-related death," the authors write.

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