Progress in cancer control in Maryland: 1985-2015

Victoria Brun, Elizabeth A. Platz, Thuy Nguyen, Sara Valek, Donna Gugel, Karen Warmkessel, Norma F. Kanarek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: Maryland historically had a high cancer burden, which prompted the implementation of aggressive cancer control strategies. We examined the status of cancer in Maryland and work under the current and previous editions of the MD Comprehensive Cancer Control Plan. Methods: We examined the prevalence of cancer mortality, cancer incidence, and cancer-related behaviors in Maryland and the United States from 1985 to 2015 using publicly available data in the US Cancer Control PLANET, CDC WONDER, and Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System portals. We estimated the average annual cancer deaths avoided by triangulation. Results: In 1983-1987, Maryland had the highest age-adjusted cancer mortality rate of all 50 states, second only to Washington, District of Columbia. Today (2011-2015), Maryland's age-adjusted cancer mortality rate ranks 31st. Overall cancer mortality rates have declined 1.9% annually from 1990 to 2015, avoiding nearly 60 000 deaths over 3 decades. While the prevalence of healthy cancer-related behaviors in Maryland was qualitatively similar or higher than that of the United States in 2015, Maryland's 5-year (2011-2015) cancer incidence rate was significantly greater than that of the United States. Conclusions: Maryland's 30-year cancer mortality declines have outpaced other states. However, a reduction in mortality while incidence rates remain high indicates a need for enhanced focus on primary prevention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Public Health Management and Practice
StateAccepted/In press - 2021


  • Cancer Plan
  • Cancer mortality
  • Maryland
  • Population health
  • Tobacco

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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