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.
Lung cancer is also the biggest driver of premature mortality due to cancer among women. The YPLL rate for African-American women is 19 percent higher than whites. For Latinas, lung cancer has much smaller impact, with a smaller YPLL rate than both breast and colorectal cancer. Breast cancer is the #2 cause for white and African-American women and the top cause for Latinas. The breast cancer YPLL rate is significantly higher for African-American women. Colorectal cancer is the third leading cause overall, and both African-American and Latina rates are higher than the rate for white women.
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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