Two new studies, one by NCI researchers and one led by CDC researchers, have found that cancer rates are higher in rural areas than in urban areas. The studies — one by NCI researchers and one led by researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — found that cancer death rates are higher in rural areas than in urban areas. The CDC study also showed that, although cancer deaths rates are decreasing in rural areas, they are doing so more slowly than they are in urban areas. The increased attention toward rural health has been driven not only by politics but also by important advances in population health research, including the availability of more granular data that has allowed scientists to describe disease patterns in regions of the United States at a more localized level.
One of the biggest disconnects that remains between science and policy discussions around rural health is the idea that “rural” populations are often only thought to include whites. The data clearly demonstrate, however, that some of the most severely disadvantaged and unhealthy people in America are people of color in rural areas.
For more information, see the full article, Improving Cancer Control in Rural Communities: Next Steps by Robert T. Croyle, Ph.D. at the NCI Cancer Currents Blog.