COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP)
-- New figures that show Ohioans have a higher incidence for
various types of cancer could help communities fight the
disease, experts say.
According to data from the Ohio Cancer Incidence
Surveillance System, the average number of new cancer cases
reported in Ohio from 1996 through 1998 -- the most recent
years available -- was 51,228 per year. Breast, lung, prostate
and colorectal cancers make up 57 percent of the cases.
Ohio ranks 13th in the country in cancer deaths
and is among the worst when it comes to smoking and obesity,
both key contributors to cancer.
The data also shows statistics on a county-by-county-basis.
In Marion County, for example, the rate of pancreatic cancer
nearly doubled the state average of 8.1 cases per 100,000
That's the kind of information that could lead to an
increase in early detection and help decrease cancer rates,
said Dr. Kim Mortensen, regional planning manager for the
American Cancer Society's Ohio division.
``In trying to figure out the cancer burden in a community,
we haven't had very much to use until recently,'' he said.
``It's critical data to be able to tell where the problems are
worst: In one county, smoking may be the biggest problem, in
another, prostate cancer.''
The numbers, however, are not enough to provide a detailed
analysis of cancer in Ohio because they are only for three
A thorough analysis might take another decade, Donn Young,
a biostatistician at the Ohio State University Comprehensive
Cancer Center, told The Columbus Dispatch for a story
``We're finally getting data that all of us are kind of
chomping at the bit to use, but sometimes you just can't hurry
these things up,'' Young said.
The system was established a decade ago, but there wasn't
adequate funding to compile the data until recent years.
And people who compile cancer data are still trying to get
information on all cases.
In 1998, the surveillance system knew about an estimated 92
percent of cancer cases. The data isn't enough to discern the
rate of a particular type of cancer until 95 percent of cases
have been reported, Young said.
Cases of breast, prostate, colorectal and skin cancers were
underreported in the latest data.
Robert Indian, the Ohio Department of Health's chief of
community health assessments, said a push to find all cancer
cases should help.
Starting in 1999, radiation centers and ambulatory surgery
centers have been encouraged to report cases. The Department
of Health also plans to boost audits of data provided by
The cancer registry's advisory board this month recommended
that lawmakers allow it to levy fines against hospitals that
have long-term reporting problems.
The board also has asked for a requirement that cancer
diagnostic and treatment facilities be required to report
cases and an additional $700,000 in state funds to hire more
The health department currently pulls in almost $880,000 in
state money for the registry. Contributions from the national
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention bring the total
budget to $1.5 million.