Minnesota Cancer All Types Combined - MN Public Health Data Access - MN Dept. of Health
Cancer in Minnesota
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All cancer types combined
All cancer types combined
Tracking the incidence of all cancer types combined allows examination of trends over time. Although this is useful information, it is important to remember that trends in specific cancers may be very different.
The overall rate of all cancer types combined in Minnesota has decreased less than 1% per year on average since 2000. From 2017 to 2019, an average of 16,000 cases of cancer in males and 15,200 cases of cancer in females were diagnosed among Minnesota residents each year. The annual age-adjusted incidence rate for all cancer types combined is higher in males than females. This varies considerably from type to type of cancer.
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Tobacco: the leading single cause of cancer
Tobacco is responsible for 30% of cancer deaths. Important risk factors are diet, obesity, alcohol consumption and a lack of physical activity. Other established risk factors include specific infections, use of certain medications, some occupational exposures, some chemical exposures, radiation, radon, and reproductive and hormonal factors (such as estrogen exposure). Genetics play a strong role in some cancers and may play some role for most cancers.
You can reduce your risk of cancer
Many cancers may be preventable. Not smoking is the single biggest step you can take to reduce your risk of developing cancer. Since different cancers often have different risk factors, prevention strategies for one cancer may not apply to another type. The following prevention strategies reduce the risk of developing or dying from cancer:
- Healthy behaviors: Avoid tobacco products, maintain a healthy diet and weight, exercise regularly, and avoid excessive sun exposure. These behavioral risk factors are estimated to account for two-thirds of cancer deaths. Avoid exposure to sexually transmitted infections, such as HIV, human papillomavirus (HPV), or hepatitis B virus. Some sexually transmitted infections can cause cancer (e.g. cervical or liver cancer).
- Get screened for cancer: Being screened at the recommended ages and intervals can reduce mortality for breast cancer, cervical cancer, and colorectal cancer by finding cancers early, when treatment is more effective. Screening tests for colorectal and cervical cancer can actually prevent cancer by finding abnormal cells before they become cancerous. Screening for breast cancer will not prevent the cancer, but early detection improves survival.
- Vaccinations: Hepatitis B virus and HPV vaccines as well as treatment for certain infections are effective prevention measures for specific types of cancers (e.g., liver or cervical cancers).
- Occupational health and safety: Workplace reduction to known carcinogens especially in some manufacturing situations may play a role in reducing cancer.
- Radon mitigation: Reducing radon concentrations in the home, if needed, may reduce risk for lung cancer, especially in Minnesota where radon levels tend to be higher than average.
What is being done about cancer?
- The Minnesota Cancer Reporting System (MCRS) at the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) has taken the lead in tracking cancer incidence in Minnesota since it was implemented in 1988. MCRS collaborates with the Minnesota Cancer Alliance and the American Cancer Society Midwest Division to produce Minnesota Cancer Facts and Figures every two years.
- The Minnesota Cancer Alliance is a coalition of more than 100 public and private health organizations, community groups and volunteers founded in 2005. It is supported by the Comprehensive Cancer Control Program at MDH. The Alliance collaborates to develop and implement the statewide cancer control plan, with a focus on policy, systems, and environmental changes that will provide a foundation for long-lasting and sustainable population-wide change.
- Cancer Plan Minnesota 2025 is a framework for action that invites everyone to get involved in reducing the burden of cancer and promoting health equity. It challenges organizations and individuals in every sector and every region of the state to step up, work together and make a difference for all Minnesotans. Five overarching goals have guided the MN Cancer Alliance since its founding in 2005. They continue to guide the current work and provide an organizing structure for this plan: 1) Prevent cancer from occurring, 2) detect cancer at its earliest stages, 3) treat all cancer patients with the most appropriate and effective therapy, 4) optimize the quality of life for every person affected by cancer, and 5) eliminate disparities in the burden of cancer.
- The American Cancer Society (ACS) is the nation's leading organization dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major health problem. The national ACS report Cancer Facts & Figures provides cancer incidence, mortality and survival statistics for the U.S.
- The Sage Screening Program at MDH is a statewide comprehensive breast and cervical cancer screening program that aims to increase the proportion of eligible women screened for these cancers through free screening, education, raising awareness, and developing statewide partnerships to promote screening.
- The mission of the Tobacco Prevention and Control Program at MDH is to improve the health of Minnesotans by promoting the reduction of tobacco use.
- The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) monitors ambient levels of air pollutants, including potential cancer-causing agents(such as benzene). MPCA and MDH both work together to protect human health and the environment from substances released into the air, water, and soil.
Current cancer disparities in Minnesota
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All cancer types combined by race and ethnicity
Incidence rates of all cancer types combined vary among racial and ethnic groups in Minnesota. From 2015 to 2019, American Indian individuals had the highest rates of all cancer types combined, with 604 cases per 100,000 people overall, 589 cases per 100,000 females, and 633 cases per 100,000 males. Asian/Pacific Islander individuals had the lowest rates of all cancer types combined, with 308 cases per 100,000 people overall, 302 cases per 100,000 females, and 322 cases per 100,000 males.
Cancer rates over time in Minnesota
All cancer types combined over time by year
The notable variation in cancer rates between 1991 and 1994 among males is due to increased prostate cancer rates after the introduction of a widely used blood test screening for prostate cancer. Most recently, the age-adjusted incidence rate of all cancer types combined was 466.7 new cases per 100,000 males and 421.3 new cases per 100,000 females. The age-adjusted incidence rate of all cancer types combined for males increased less than 1% per year from 1988 to 2007, and shows a 2.1% decline until 2013. There has been a less than 1% increase since 2013. Age-adjusted incidence rates for females since 1988 show an annual increase of 0.49% until 2017, but shows some evidence of a decline after 2017.
Breast cancer over time by age group
The risk of developing pre-menopausal breast cancer (defined here as cancer occurring prior to 50 years of age) has been relatively stable over the time period with a 1.2% annual increase since 2003. The risk of developing post-menopausal breast cancer (defined here as cancer occurring at 50 years and older) has fluctuated considerably; from 2000 to 2004 the rate decreased by 4.7%, and a similar decrease was seen nationally.
This decline is attributed to a dramatic decrease in the use of post-menopausal hormone replacement therapy following the announcement in 2001 by the National Institutes of Health’s Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) that hormone therapy increases breast cancer risk. The rate has increased since 2004 less than 1% per year. Most recently, the age-adjusted incidence rate of breast cancer was:
- 50.0 new cases per 100,000 for females less than 50 years old,
- 354.9 new cases per 100,000 for females aged 50 years and older and
- 134.4 new cases per 100,000 for females of all ages combined.
In 2017 to 2019, an average of 196 cases of cancer (all types) were diagnosed in Minnesota children (from birth to 14 years of age) each year. The rate of childhood cancer has varied somewhat over time, in part due to the relatively small number of cases of childhood cancer. There are no apparent increasing or decreasing trends.
Childhood leukemia over time
Leukemia is the most common childhood cancer in Minnesota and in the U.S. The rate of childhood leukemia varied somewhat over time. Variation is due in part to the relatively small number of cases. No significant trends have been identified. From 2014 to 2018, the age-adjusted incidence rate of leukemia was 4.5 new cases per 100,000 children.
Childhood acute myeloid leukemia over time
The rate of childhood acute myeloid leukemia (AML) has a large amount of variation (many peaks and valleys) because the rates are based on small numbers (<10 cancers per year). For this reason, AML rates are presented in three-year groupings to increase precision of the incidence rates. Each year there are about 5 to 10 cases of AML diagnosed in Minnesota children.
Childhood acute lymphocytic leukemia over time
The overall rate of childhood acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL) has been about 3.7 cases per 100,000 children per year since 1988. Most of the cases of leukemia in children in Minnesota are this type. Each year, there are an average of 39 new cases of ALL diagnosed in Minnesota children.
Childhood brain cancer over time
The age-adjusted incidence rate of childhood brain cancer has been relatively stable since 1988. An average of 3.4 new cases per 100,000 children per year have been diagnosed since 1988. Each year there are about 25 to 45 brain and other nervous system cancers diagnosed in Minnesota children. Beginning in 2012, MCRS started collecting data on cancers that were clinically diagnosed via radiography, CAT scans, and MRIs. Prior to 2012, data was collected only on tissue-confirmed cases.
Cancer rates by county
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All cancer types combined in Minnesota
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- Cancer incidence data is collected by the Minnesota Cancer Reporting System, an ongoing program at the Minnesota Department of Health and Minnesota’s central cancer registry.
- The collection of Minnesota Cancer data was supported by Cooperative Agreement #1NU58DP006337 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The contents of this work are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not represent the official views of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or the Department of Health and Human Services.
Last updated: June 2023