Delaware Public Media

Delaware public health officials point to cancer rate improvements

Jul 9, 2018

The Delaware Division of Public Health said it’s continuing to make progress on reducing the rate of Delawareans getting and dying from cancer in the First State.


Delaware has the second-highest incidence of cancer in the U.S. But state public health officials say screenings and early detection are helping people in the First State survive a cancer diagnosis. The report also found Delaware is second in the nation for breast cancer screenings.

Health officials presented findings Monday from a report looking at the incidence of cancer and the mortality rate between 2010 to 2014. They said the mortality rate is down 12 percent from 2000. But Delaware’s cancer rate is 14 percent above the national rate and the First State’s death rate from cancer is 7 percent higher. But they say that’s greatly improved since the 1990s when Delaware ranked second in cancer mortality.

Zeinab Baba of the Division of Public Health says lifestyle changes can help people diagnosed wirth cancer live longer.

“So, encouraging people to eat healthy, getting people to stop smoking, encouraging people to be more physically active, things like that," she said. "All of those things in helping people to have better outcomes when it comes to a cancer diagnosis.”

But she said public health is concerned this latest report shows lung cancer is making up a massive amount of the new cancer diagnoses and deaths.

About 90 percent of those cases are due to smoking.

“So, what we would to do is encourage people to stop smoking because it’s one of the few cancer where we can actually link tobacco use to a cancer,” Baba said.

She said they’re also discouraging Delawareans from vaping, using e-cigarettes and other similar devices.

The report also shows race disparities for some cancers like in the higher rate of prostate cancer in black men.