Breast cancer

Where in America is a woman most likely to be diagnosed with cancer?

March 26, 2013 at 4:30 PM ET

Women Diagnosed with Cancer
iVillage /
Women Diagnosed with Cancer

Kentucky women hold the unenviable distinction of having the nation’s highest rates of two cancers: lung and colorectal. Washington is not much better, with the highest number of ovarian cancers and the fifth highest number of breast cancers. Oklahoma has the worst cervical cancer rate and Vermont women have the most skin cancer cases.

But in Utah and New Mexico, cancer rates are lower than the rest of the country. Utah has the nation’s lowest rate of lung and colorectal cancer, the second lowest cervical cancer rate and the fifth lowest ovarian cancer rate. In New Mexico, rates of colon, breast, skin and lung cancer all fall among the 10 lowest.

Lung cancer is the leading cancer killer of women, followed by breast, colorectal, pancreatic and ovarian cancers, according to the American Cancer Society. Getting screened can help save lives. In Massachusetts, for example, women have the highest breast cancer rate in the country. But that doesn’t translate to the worst breast cancer death rate (Alaska holds that distinction). That’s likely because Massachusetts boasts the nation’s best mammogram rate.

Here’s how the states rank for each cancer, from lowest rate to highest. All rates are per 100,000 women. Numbers for Wisconsin were not available.

Breast Cancer

RankStatePer 100,000 Women
1Arkansas101.9
2West Virginia102.3
3Arizona110.2
4New Mexico111.6
5Texas112.5
6Utah113.1
7Nevada113.2
8Indiana114
9Michigan114.5
10Wyoming114.7
11Louisiana115.3
12Florida115.6
13Mississippi117.7
13Ohio117.7
15Montana118.3
16Idaho118.6
17North Dakota118.7
18South Carolina118.8
19Tennessee119.3
20Wisconsin119.7
21Kentucky120.1
22Georgia120.9
23South Dakota121
24Iowa121.3
24Kansas121.3
26Alabama121.4
27North Carolina122.7
28Colorado124
29Illinois124.3
30Missouri124.4
31Vermont124.7
32Maine124.8
33Virginia124.9
34Oklahoma125
35California125.1
36New York125.8
37Oregon126.7
38Minnesota127.3
39Delaware127.8
40Pennsylvania127.9
41Hawaii128.5
42Nebraska128.7
43New Jersey129.8
44Maryland130.3
45Alaska131.9
46Washington132.4
47New Hampshire133.5
48Rhode Island136.3
49Connecticut136.5
50Massachusetts139.5

Source: Kaiser Family Foundation, 2008

Cervical Cancer

RankStatePer 100,000 Women
1Vermont4.7
2Utah4.8
2Idaho4.8
4New Hampshire5.1
5Massachusetts5.5
6Colorado6
7Connecticut6.2
7Virginia6.2
9Rhode Island6.3
10Maine6.4
11Minnesota6.5
12Maryland6.6
12Arizona6.6
14South Dakota6.8
15Iowa6.9
15North Carolina6.9
17New Mexico7
18Michigan7.1
19Kansas7.2
19Montana7.2
21Nevada7.3
22Indiana7.4
22Oregon7.4
24Ohio7.6
24Washington7.6
26California7.8
27North Dakota8
27New York8
29Illinois8.1
29Pennsylvania8.1
31Georgia8.2
32Nebraska8.4
32Missouri8.4
34New Jersey8.6
34Wyoming8.6
34Louisiana8.6
37Mississippi8.7
38Delaware8.9
39Alabama9
39Kentucky9
41Tennessee9.2
42Texas9.4
43Florida9.5
43South Carolina9.5
45Hawaii9.6
46Alaska9.9
46Arkansas9.9
48West Virginia10.1
49Oklahoma10.9
50WisconsinNo statistical data

Source: National Cancer Institute, 2009

Colorectal Cancer

RankStatePer 100,000 Women
1Utah29.6
2New Mexico30.8
3Arizona31
4Colorado31.9
5South Carolina32.2
6Idaho33
7Montana33.6
8Arkansas33.8
9Nevada33.9
10Vermont34.4
11Maryland34.5
11Texas34.5
13New Hampshire34.6
13Virginia34.6
15Florida34.7
16North Carolina35.3
17Delaware35.7
18Rhode Island35.9
19California36
20Kansas36.2
21Wyoming36.5
22Massachusetts36.6
22Oregon36.6
24Georgia37.1
25Michigan37.3
26Ohio37.5
26Tennessee37.5
28Washington37.6
29Missouri37.8
30Minnesota38
31South Dakota38.4
32New York38.5
33Connecticut38.7
34Alabama38.9
35New Jersey39
36Hawaii39.7
37Indiana39.8
38Alaska40.1
38Illinois40.1
40Oklahoma40.3
41North Dakota40.5
41West Virginia40.5
43Pennsylvania40.6
44Maine40.7
44Nebraska40.7
46Louisiana41.5
47Iowa42
48Mississippi43.4
49Kentucky47.2
50WisconsinNo statistical data available

Source: National Cancer Institute, 2009

Lung Cancer

RankStatePer 100,000 Women
1Utah22.2
2New Mexico38.5
3Hawaii40.6
4Idaho42.8
5Wyoming43.5
6Colorado43.7
7California44.3
8South Dakota45.5
9Nebraska46.6
10Texas46.8
11Arizona48.3
12North Dakota48.5
13Minnesota50.2
14South Carolina50.8
15Maryland51.8
16Georgia53.1
17New Jersey53.7
18New York53.9
19Virginia54.4
20Alabama54.8
21Alaska54.9
22Washington55
23Montana55.5
24Iowa55.6
24Arkansas55.6
26Louisiana56
27Mississippi56.1
28Oregon56.2
29Florida56.6
30North Carolina56.7
31Kansas56.8
32Michigan57
33Pennsylvania57.5
34Ohio58.5
35Oklahoma59.1
36Delaware60.3
36New Hampshire60.3
38Connecticut60.5
39Illinois60.8
40Massachusetts61.2
41Tennessee61.7
42Indiana62.1
43Nevada62.4
44Missouri63.4
45Rhode Island65.5
46West Virginia65.6
47Vermont65.7
48Maine68.9
49Kentucky78.7
50WisconsinNo statistical data

Source: National Cancer Institute, 2009

Ovarian Cancer

RankStatePer 100,000 Women
1South Carolina9.1
1Arkansas9.1
3Alaska9.5
4South Dakota9.7
5Utah9.8
5Missouri9.8
7Nebraska9.9
8Nevada10
9Mississippi10.2
10Louisiana10.3
11Oklahoma10.5
11New Mexico10.5
11North Dakota10.5
14Maine10.8
15Kentucky10.9
15Idaho10.9
17Vermont11
18New Hampshire11.2
18Arizona11.2
19West Virginia11.2
21Texas11.3
22Hawaii11.4
22Maryland11.4
22Florida11.4
25Delaware11.6
26Minnesota11.8
26Indiana11.8
28Illinois11.9
28Tennessee11.9
28Rhode Island11.9
28Wyoming11.9
32Montana12.1
32Ohio12.1
32Michigan12.1
35Alabama12.2
35California12.2
35Oregon12.2
35Georgia12.2
39Colorado12.3
40North Carolina12.4
40Virginia12.4
42Massachusetts12.5
42New Jersey12.5
44Connecticut12.6
45New York12.7
45Iowa12.7
47Pennsylvania13.1
47Kansas13.1
49Washington13.3
50WisconsinNo statistical data

Source: National Cancer Institute, 2009

Skin Cancer (Melanoma)

RankStatePer 100,000 Women
1Alaska9.1
2Texas9.9
3Arizona11.9
4Louisiana12.4
5Arkansas12.7
6South Dakota12.9
7New Mexico13.3
8Mississippi13.4
9Florida13.5
10Illinois13.6
11Nevada13.7
12Virginia13.9
12New York13.9
14Oklahoma14.1
15Indiana14.2
16Missouri14.9
16Wyoming14.9
18California15.5
19Maryland15.6
20Georgia15.9
20Hawaii15.9
22Nebraska16
23New Jersey16.3
24Pennsylvania16.8
25Alabama17.1
26Michigan17.2
27Colorado17.5
28Ohio17.6
28South Carolina17.6
30Massachusetts18.1
31Rhode Island18.2
32Kansas18.3
33Tennessee18.4
34Kentucky18.6
35Maine18.9
36Connecticut19
37West Virginia19.3
38North Carolina19.4
39Montana19.8
40New Hampshire20.2
41Iowa20.9
42Washington21.7
43Oregon21.9
44North Dakota22.2
45Idaho22.4
46Delaware22.8
47Utah23.6
48Minnesota24.6
49Vermont27.6
50WisconsinNo statistical data

Source: National Cancer Institute, 2009

See the State of Women methodology and sources.

A version of this story originally appeared on iVillage.


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