Top Causes of Years of Potential Life Lost to Cancer by Race/Ethnicity, Males

New York Finger Lakes Region (2010 - 2015)

When looking at specific types of cancer, it’s clear that lung cancer not only causes the highest rates of premature mortality but is also the biggest driver of disparity across populations.

For men regardless of race/ethnicity, lung cancer has by far the highest YPLL rates. And the rate is much higher for African-Americans than either whites or Latinos. Liver cancer is another source of significant disparity, especially for Latino males whose premature mortality rate is 4.8 times the white population. The African-American YPLL rate is 3.2 times the white rate. Colorectal cancer is another large driver of premature mortality for men, although the rates are pretty similar across racial/ethnic groups.

Methodology note: The SES index ranking was developed by Common Ground Health and calculated using a variety of socioeconomic indicators from the American Community Survey including average income, poverty rates, education levels, housing value, and homeownership. Each ZIP code is assigned a socioeconomic (SES) index ranking from 1 to 5. The lower SES ZIP codes tend to have lower average income, higher poverty rates, lower prevalence of college degrees, etc.

Methodology note: Years of potential life lost (YPLL) is a widely used measure to assess the rate of premature mortality. YPLL places a larger weight on the deaths of younger people, in contrast with overall mortality statistics which are dominated by deaths of the elderly. The YPLL rates in Common Ground Health analyses are derived using 75 years as the baseline. A death at age 65 has YPLL of 10, where as a death at age 35 has a YPLL of 40. The rates are calculated per 100,000 population and are age-sex adjusted to account for differences in population distribution.

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