Get Screened Blog

Colon Cancer Rates: Which States Have Most and Fewest Cases of Colon Cancer?

The American Cancer Society recently released the 2014 version of its annual Facts & Figures Report, which features 70 pages chock-full of charts, statistics and information about cancer in America.

One of the most interesting tidbits from this year’s report is a table featuring a state-by-state look at incidence rates for various cancers between 2006 and 2010, including colon cancer. 

To provide a visualization of how states compare to one another, we used the data from this table to color-code a US map to reflect incidences of colon cancer in both men and women.

Colon cancer is America’s second-deadliest cancer even though it can often be prevented by getting regular screening, suggesting some of the darkest states below need the most help when it comes to getting people screened. 

First, let’s take a look at the map for incidence rates in men, who are slightly more likely to be affected by the disease.

exs-er-0220-BSGS-USMap-Men-04A few takeaways from this map:

  • The coasts have far lower incidence rates than the inland areas, with the midwest and deep south in particularly dire straights.

  • The Rocky Mountain Region contains all of the nation’s best performing states.

  •  Not all is lost for Kentucky, which has seen its incidence rate fall steadily in recent years. Exact Sciences featured an interview with the executive director of the Colon Cancer Prevention Project, a Kentucky-based non-profit initiative. 

The top 5

1.  Utah (39.4 incidences per 100,000 people)

2.  Arizona (41.4)

3.  Idaho (43.4)

4.  Colorado (43.6)

5.  New Mexico (44.1)

The bottom 5

46.  Illinois (59.1)

47.  North Dakota (59.2)

48.  Mississippi (61.3)

49.  Louisiana (62. 4)

50.  Kentucky (63.9)

Here’s how the cases map looks for women:


A few takeaways from this map:

  • The states with the biggest difference between incidence rate in men and women are Hawaii (56.9 in men, 38.0 in women) and Louisiana (62.4 and 44). The states with the smallest difference are the District of Columbia (50.9 and 44.8) and Vermont (44.8 and 38.3).

  • In general, the incidence rates in women are more similar from state to state than those in men. The difference between the highest and lowest rate in men is 24.5, but only 14.8 in women.

  • Here the concentration of high-incidence states is even more clearly defined as states in the middle-of-the-country and the top 5 is composed of the same five states in both men and women.

  • The misconception that women aren’t affected by colon cancer is clearly disproven here. Women from Kentucky get colon cancer more often than men from 7 different states. 

The top 5

 1.  Utah (31.2)

 2.  Arizona (32)

t3.  New Mexico (33.6)

t3.  Colorado (33.6)

 5.  Idaho (34.8)

The bottom 5 

46.  Nebraska (44.4)

47.  Alaska (44.5)

48.  Mississippi (44.7)

49.  District of Columbia (44.8)

50.  Kentucky (46.0)