Cancer remains one of the leading death causes in the United States, and the pancreatic type is the severest type based on the mortality from it. Multiple factors such as race, gender, or environment affect the disease statistics, moreover, health conditions can be determined by factors like social status, income, education, habits, and level of medical support in a city or state (Singh et al., 2017). This paper aims to compare the rates of pancreatic cancer incidents for Wisconsin and Colorado to discuss the biological, genetic, environmental, and social reasons for the differences.
Pancreatic cancer incidence and mortality statistics keep growing despite the treatment and preventive medicine development. The chosen states have high rates of that disease: in 2014, there were almost 1000 cases per 100,000 people in Wisconsin and more than 1000 occasions per 100,000 people in Colorado (CDC WONDER Online Database, 2021). American Cancer Society [ACM] (2021) states that “African Americans are slightly more likely to develop pancreatic cancer probably due to having higher rates of risk factors, such as diabetes, smoking, and being overweight” (para. 9). However, more than 80% of the Colorado and Wisconsin population are white (Census QuickFacts, 2021). The racial factor is not crucial for the chosen states as it does not affect the pancreatic cancer rates.
Biological and genetic reasons are crucial for pancreatic cancer incidence because it is more likely to appear in people with family history and predisposition. Gene mutations leading to familial pancreatitis, Lynch syndrome, or Peutz-Jeghers syndrome often cause cancer development (ACM, 2021). As a biological factor, age also influences the disease rates, that type of cancer is seldom diagnosed in people younger than 55 and is called the illness of the elderly (Rawla et al., 2019). Wisconsin’s population includes 822,000 citizens older than 60, while in Colorado, 370,000 people are in that age group (QuickFacts, 2021). Consequently, the first state has more pancreatic cancer incidents than the latter.
Environment and social determinants influence the pancreatic cancer incidence rate as the disease might develop from unhealthy habits, lack of education, or external factors. Singh et al. (2017) claim that “women with less than a high school education and below the poverty level had higher cancer mortality than women with the highest education and income levels, respectively” (p. 143). In Wisconsin, 8.6% of the population lives in poverty, while that rate is 9.3% for Colorado (Amadeo, 2020). Poor people tend to have averagely lower educational levels, thus in Wisconsin, more individuals have at least college degrees than in Colorado. Pancreatic cancer rates are higher in Colorado, and its citizens’ income level influences the number of registered diseases.
Colorado and Wisconsin are the states with a similar situation with pancreatic cancer incidents. However, the quantity of the elderly population in the disease risk group is larger for Wisconsin, and the overall socio-economic conditions are better in Colorado. Factors like race, age, being overweight, and social status affect the number of pancreatic cancer cases. The analyzed states confirm the necessity in reviewing the situation from biological, social, and economic perspectives to determine the causes of increasing incidents and mortality rates.
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