New cancer study shows disparity in Nevada
Startling new research shows Nevadans are more likely than people in neighboring states to be diagnosed with cancer, and die from it.Photo: Video by ktnv.com
Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- Startling new research shows Nevadans are more likely than people in neighboring states to be diagnosed with cancer and die from it.
Doctors say a big reason is the prevalence of smoking in casinos here, compared to California, Utah and Arizona.
The study also points to a troubling trend, that's tied to where you live, within the state of Nevada.
Dr. Paulo Pinheiro, a University of Nevada, Las Vegas researcher and Epidemiologist, analyzed cancer cases in Nevada from 2006 to 2008. His report draws on data from the Nevada Central Cancer Registry.
He found that Southern Nevada has a higher incidence of cancer, and more cancer deaths, than Northern Nevada. The Las Vegas area also has lower screening and survival rates, than the Reno area.
Additionally, survival rates for breast cancer in Northern Nevada are at about 82 percent after four years, which is roughly the national average. But in Southern Nevada they are almost 10 percentage points lower.
Dr. Pinheiro says the high number of unemployed people in Southern Nevada contributes to these findings.
"The chance of surviving cancer is much greater in Northern Nevada, as compared to Southern Nevada," he says. "Las Vegas would profit a lot from attracting more medical expertise. We are one of the only major cities without a large teaching hospital. We do not have a school of medicine based here. Having one would attract more research, more grants, and better care - especially for low-income residents."
Dr. Pinheiro believes part of the problem, is that many people don't know there's help available. He refers to a federally-funded cancer-screening program for low-income Nevadans, which he says only about one in nine people in Southern Nevada take part in it.
He hopes his research prompts everyone to be more proactive in the fight against cancer.
Also in the report:
- Nevada women, especially White women, show among the highest mortality rates for lung, colorectal and liver cancers in the country.
- Lung cancer among Hispanics is about one-half that of non-Hispanic whites. This is possibly related to the traditionally lower smoking rates in Hispanics
- Whites in Nevada have higher incidence rates than all other racial groups for breast, bladder and colorectal cancers.
- Blacks in Nevada show high rates for prostate cancer.
- Hispanics in Nevada have high rates for cancers of the stomach and uterine/cervix.
- Asians in Nevada have the highest rates for liver cancer.
- Blacks and Hispanics are diagnosed at later advanced stage of disease more often than Whites and Asians, and may therefore be ineligible for effective treatment.