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 trials.
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.
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