Northeast Tops Prostate Cancer Fight
Report Gives Region Best Grades for Preventing and Treating Prostate Cancer
June 18, 2007 -- Northeastern states are doing a better job fighting
prostate cancer than those in the Southeast, according to a national report
card issued by advocates Monday.
The report gives Arkansas, Kentucky, and Mississippi failing grades on
preventing and treating the disease. Wisconsin, Nevada, and New Mexico also
earned F grades from the National Prostate Cancer Coalition.
Connecticut, New Jersey, and Rhode Island all earned grades of A or A- in
the group's second annual report.
The report looks at each state's prostate screening rates and at whether
state laws require insurance companies to cover screening tests for men. Thirty
states now require such coverage, including Alabama, which passed a new
insurance mandate earlier this month.
The grades also take into account whether patients have access to clinical
Nearly 220,000 American men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2007,
and the disease will claim the lives of about 27,000 men in 2007, according to
estimates from the American Cancer Society.
Death rates have dropped by close to a third since 1992, according to the
American Cancer Society.
"We think that early detection is playing a crucial role in the
drop," Richard Atkins, MD, CEO of the National Prostate Cancer Coalition,
tells WebMD. The group receives part of its funding in the form of grants
from drug companies and other private industry groups.
But African-American men are still about twice as likely as white men to die
from prostate cancer.
One consequence of higher screening rates in states receiving high grades
could be more detected cases. Just over 200 of every 100,000 men in New Jersey
are diagnosed with prostate cancer, giving the state the highest incidence rate
of any state in the nation.
Tennessee has an incidence rate of just 109 per 100,000 men, possibly
suggesting low screening and detection rates.
- Fighting prostate
cancer or know someone who is? Share your thoughts on WebMD's Prostate
Cancer Support Group message board.