Indiana Cancer Burden

Cancer is the second leading cause of death in Indiana, claiming approximately 12,688 lives per year. Nearly 30 percent of new cancer cases are caused by tobacco use and another 43 percent exist because of lifestyle factors such as poor dietary habits, lack of exercise, not maintaining a healthy weight, occupational factors, and excessive alcohol intake. Nearly 65 percent of new cancer cases, and 33 percent of cancer deaths could be prevented through lifestyle changes such as eliminated tobacco use, improving dietary habits, exercising regularly, maintaining a healthy weight, obtaining early detection cancer screening tests, and obtaining timely and appropriate treatment.

Indiana’s age adjusted cancer incidence rate during 2005-2009 was 467.8 per 100,000 people. This was significantly lower than the national rate of 472.0 per 100,000 people. However, during the same period, Indiana’s age-adjusted mortality (death) rate was 9 percent higher than the national rate. This includes being 12 percent higher among Indiana males and 8 percent higher among Indiana females.

The burden of specific cancer types among U.S. residents has changed over the years. For example, with the gradual decrease in smoking rates among Americans over the past several decades, lung cancer mortality rates have begun to decrease, especially among U.S. males. However, trends vary among the different cancer types. These statistics indicate that progress continues to be made in the early detection and treatment of certain cancers, and that the incidence and mortality of some cancers is declining. However, a significant cancer burden still exists among Indiana residents that requires continued and more targeted cancer control efforts.