NNMCAB Reviews Comparison Of Cancer Rates In Northern New Mexico With Remainder Of State

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NNMCAB members listen to epidemiologist Angela Meisner at their Wednesday meeting in Santa Fe. Photo by Maire O’Neill/losalamosreporter.com


Epidemiologist Angela Meisner discussed data for cancer rates downstream of Los Alamos National Laboratory with members of the Northern New Mexico Citizens Advisory Board members during their quarterly meeting in Santa Fe.

Meisner started by saying that among children born in the United States today, it is estimated that one in three females and one in two males will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime. She said in 2018, an estimated 9,730 New Mexicans will be newly diagnosed with cancer and approximately 3,750 deaths from cancer will occur. Although the numbers are daunting, she said cancer mortality has declined.

The University of New Mexico Health Sciences New Mexico Tumor Registry was established in 1966 and covers all of New Mexico and Arizona American Indians in collaboration with the Arizona Cancer Registry. High quality cancer surveillance data is collected to support scientific research and a broad spectrum of cancer control activities.

Meisner said cancer surveillance in New Mexico is conducted in accordance with standards set by the National Cancer Institute’s Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results Program (SEER), the Centers for Disease Control and prevention, the North American Association of Central Cancer Registries and the American College of Surgeons. The NMTR documents a variety of characteristics for each cancer case, including:

  • Patient – personal identifiers, sex, ancestry, age and place of residence at diagnosis
  • Cancer – anatomic site, histology, behavior, grade, stage and selected markers
  • Therapy – surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, hormones and other modalities
  • Care provider – physicians, hospitals
  • Outcome – vital status, survival time, cause of death

Incidence rates measure how quickly new cancer cases are being diagnosed among New Mexico residents, Meisner said. Newly-diagnosed cancer cases are related to the size of the resident population during a specified time period. Wednesday’s presentation focused on average incidence rates for the time period 2005-2016.  All rates were age-adjusted to the distribution of the U.S. 2000 population and the presentation focused on Los Alamos, Rio Arriba, Taos and Santa Fe Counties (NNM). Incidences of cancer for those four counties were compared with incidences in the remaining New Mexico counties (Other NM) at the rate per 100,000 people.

All Types of Cancer – Combined

Non-Hispanic White NNM                           387.4

Non-Hispanic White Other NM                  415.7

Hispanic NNM                                                 334.7

Hispanic Other NM                                        360.8

American Indian NNM                                  287.8

American Indian Other NM                         282.2


Cancers of the Lung and Bronchus

Non-Hispanic White NNM                           33.4

Non-Hispanic White Other NM                  52.7

Hispanic NNM                                                 29.7

Hispanic Other NM                                        34.9

American Indian NNM                                  12.8

American Indian Other NM                         12.5


Cancers of the Female Breast

Non-Hispanic White NNM                           144.8

Non-Hispanic White Other NM                  119.7

Hispanic NNM                                                 101.7

Hispanic Other NM                                        101.3

American Indian NNM                                  58.7

American Indian Other NM                         63.9


Cancers of the Colon and Rectum

Non-Hispanic White NNM                           27.2

Non-Hispanic White Other NM                  34.6

Hispanic NNM                                                 38.6

Hispanic Other NM                                        39.4

American Indian NNM                                  47.0

American Indian Other NM                         34.7


Cancers of the Stomach

Non-Hispanic White NNM                           4.0

Non-Hispanic White Other NM                  5.0

Hispanic NNM                                                 9.5

Hispanic Other NM                                        9.5

American Indian NNM                                  11.6

American Indian Other NM                         11.8


Cancers of the Liver

Non-Hispanic White NNM                           4.0

Non-Hispanic White Other NM                  4.8

Hispanic NNM                                                 11.1

Hispanic Other NM                                        14.3

American Indian NNM                                  16.4

American Indian Other NM                         12.4


Cancers of the Thyroid

Non-Hispanic White NNM                           13.8

Non-Hispanic White Other NM                  15.5

Hispanic NNM                                                 15.8

Hispanic Other NM                                        14.8

American Indian NNM                                  12.9

American Indian Other NM                         8.9


Cancers of the Prostate

Non-Hispanic White NNM                           120.5

Non-Hispanic White Other NM                  110.6

Hispanic NNM                                                 97.2

Hispanic Other NM                                        97.6

American Indian NNM                                  59.1

American Indian Other NM                         69.4

For more information on the New Mexico Tumor Registry, call 505.272.2422 or email awmeisner@salud.edu.