Complete Indicator Profile of Cancer Mortality Rate - All (HA2020 Leading Health Indicator: 1)
DefinitionRate of mortality from all cancers per 100,000 population.
NumeratorNumber of deaths due to cancer for a specific time period.
DenominatorMid-year resident population for a specific time period.
Data Interpretation IssuesCancer cases are invasive, except for special instances such as bladder cancers which include in situ. Mortality rates may vary from source to source. This may be due to using provisional data or using different population databases. The Alaska Bureau of Vital Statistics uses population estimates provided by the State Demographer in the Research and Analysis Section of the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development. In contrast, the cancer mortality rates provided by the Alaska Cancer Registry use population estimates provided by the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results Program (SEER) of the National Cancer Institute.
Why Is This Important?Although there have been declines in the death rates for all cancers over the past decade, cancer remains the leading cause of mortality among all Alaskans and among Alaska Native people. Cancer mortality represents an important public health concern not only because of the burden of cancer among the population, but because there are effective means for cancer prevention and for the early detection and treatment of cancer. Monitoring cancer mortality rates is an important way to assess efforts being made to prevent and treat cancer, including screening efforts. Several other HA2020 leading health indicators are related to this objective because they monitor risk factors associated with cancer such as tobacco use, physical activity, and diet.
Healthy People Objective C-1:Reduce the overall cancer death rate
U.S. Target: 160.6 deaths per 100,000 population
State Target: Healthy Alaskans 2020 Target: 162.0 per 100,000 population
What Is Being Done?The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services initiated the Alaska Comprehensive Cancer Control Program (CCCP), a statewide partnership whose goal is to reduce the burden of cancer. The mission of the CCCP is to lower cancer incidence and mortality in Alaska through collaborative efforts directed toward cancer prevention and control. As a result of this planning process, objectives and strategies have been developed by community partners regarding the early detection of cervical, lung, prostate, skin, breast, ovarian, and colorectal cancers as well as the promotion of physical activity, healthy eating habits, and smoking cessation.
Evidence-based PracticesAs part of the Healthy Alaskans 2020 health improvement process, groups of Alaskan subject matter experts met over a period of months in a rigorous review process to identify and prioritize strategies to address the 25 health priorities. Public health partners around the state are aligning work around these approaches adapted to Alaska's unique needs. Below are the strategies identified for enhancing adolescent support systems.
Increase breast, cervical and colorectal cancer screening.
Screening increases the chances of detecting certain cancers early, when they are most likely to be curable. Increasing screening rates will reduce the rate of deaths due to cancer in those cancers that can be screened for (breast, cervical and colorectal cancer). Currently 61% of Alaskans have been screened for colorectal cancer, 72% for breast cancer and 81% for cervical cancer (Alaska BRFSS 2010).
Recommendations of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force: http://archive.ahrq.gov/professionals/clinicians-providers/guidelines-recommendations/guide2012/abstract.htm
The Community Guide: http://www.thecommunityguide.org/index.html
Increase participation in clinical trials.
Participation in clinical trials promotes the development of new cancer treatments and expands the number of options available to a cancer patient. Clinical trials also offer opportunities to try potentially effective new treatments. More effective diagnostic and treatment options will reduce cancer incidence and mortality. Only modest gains have been achieved in cancer mortality since 1993. Successful development of new cancer therapies requires translation of laboratory observations into the clinic, with clinical trials representing the application of the scientific method to this process. Fewer than 5% of adult cancer patients enroll in clinical trials.
Increase use of patient navigation for improving access to cancer screening, timely diagnosis and treatment, and palliative care.
Successful patient navigation supports those diagnosed with suspicious findings by eliminating barriers to timely screening, treatment, and supportive care of cancer and other chronic diseases. Patient navigation saves lives and improves resolution rates of patients. When implemented at the organizational level within a community, it results in increased efficiencies and improved outcomes.
Harold P. Freeman Patient Navigation Institute: http://www.hpfreemanpni.org/our-model/
Relevant Population CharacteristicsThe risk of developing cancer increases with increasing age.
Related Relevant Population Characteristics Indicator Profiles:
Related Health Care System Factors Indicator Profiles:
Risk FactorsIncreasing age is a risk factor for developing cancer.
Related Risk Factors Indicator Profiles:
Graphical Data Views
Cancer mortality rate, all ages (age-adjusted), all Alaskans, Alaska Natives, and U.S., 2001-2020
Data NotesHealthy Alaskans 2020 Target: 162.0 per 100,000.
** Data Not Available.
Age-adjusted to U.S. 2000 population.
Number of deaths due to cancer defined as International Classification of Diseases (ICD)-9 codes 140-208 and ICD-10 codes C00-C97) as the underlying cause of death among residents during a calendar year.
Cancer is not a single disease, but rather numerous diseases with different causes, risks, and potential interventions. Interpretation of increases or decreases in cancer mortality can be made only by examination of specific types of cancers. Because certain cancers have a long latency period, years might pass before changes in behavior or clinical practice patterns affect cancer mortality. In addition, certain cancers are not amenable to primary prevention or screening. Alaska/Alaska Native - Alaska Bureau of Vital Statistics
U.S. - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - National Center for Health Statistics - Mortality Data Release Series
References and Community ResourcesAlaska Comprehensive Cancer Control Program @ http://dhss.alaska.gov/dph/Chronic/Pages/Cancer/comprehensive.aspx
Susan G. Komen Foundation @ www.komen.org
American Cancer Society @ www.cancer.org
National Cancer Institute @ www.cancer.gov
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention @ www.cdc.gov
American Society of Clinical Oncology @ www.asco.org
More Resources and LinksAlaska and national goals may be found at the following sites:
Maps of health indicators for various subdivisions of Alaska may be found at the following site:
Evidence-based community health improvement ideas and interventions may be found at the following sites:
Additional indicator data by state and county may be found on these Websites:
Medical literature can be queried at the PubMed website.
For an on-line medical dictionary, click on this Dictionary link.
Page Content Updated On 01/14/2015, Published on 01/15/2015