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The 10 Most Deadly States for Cancer

In the year 2000, cancer was the leading cause of death in only two states. Recently the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s 2014 report was released, showing that cancer is now competing with heart disease to be the leading cause of death in the U.S. In fact, it is now the leading cause of death in 22 states. Here’s a ranked list of the states with the highest rates of cancer death according to the 2014 report. Rates are out of every 100,000 people.

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10. Missouri

Missouri ranked 10th on our list with a cancer mortality rate of 215.5. According to the National Cancer Institute’s 2013 report, lung and bronchus was by far the leading cancer killer in every state on our list, with a rate of 56 in Missouri.

9. Tennessee

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Birthplace of the blues, Tennessee’s cancer mortality rate came in at 216.4. According to the American Institute for Cancer Research, 90 to 95 percent of lung cancer cases are caused by tobacco use. The institute asserts that “not using tobacco in any form is the best protection against lung cancer possible.”

8. Florida

The Sunshine State came in 8th with a cancer mortality rate of 217.2, accounting for about 23 percent of all deaths in Florida in 2014. The AICR found that eating a diet high in fruit could prevent 36 percent of the lung and bronchus cancer deaths that are not caused by tobacco. They recommend eating at least five portions of fruit a day.

Related: The 21 Most Lethal Places to Live in America

7. Mississippi

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Mississippi, birthplace of Elvis Presley and Oprah Winfrey, had a cancer mortality rate of 218.2. The National Cancer Institute named male prostate cancer as cancer’s second most lethal form, with a 2013 mortality rate of 27.4 in Mississippi.

6. Vermont

Vermont’s cancer mortality rate was 220.1, making it the 6th most deadly state for cancer in 2014.

5. Arkansas

Although the Natural State had a cancer mortality rate of 220.7, heart disease topped the charts as Arkansas’ number one killer, with a mortality rate of 255.6. Female breast cancer is commonly second to lung and bronchus cancer as the U.S.' most deadly form, rating at 22.3 in Arkansas.

4. Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania’s cancer mortality rate was 224.4, accounting for about 22 percent of the state’s deaths that year. Although breast and prostate cancer are the two most common forms of cancer after lung and bronchus, doctors don’t know of any wide sweeping causes for either of them.

3. Kentucky

The Bluegrass State had a cancer mortality rate of 232.5. Doctors have pinpointed certain risk factors that may increase one’s chance of developing breast cancer or prostate cancer. Some are unavoidable, such as race and genetics.

Related: 10 Changes You Can Make Today to Cut Your Cancer Risk

2. Maine

The easternmost state in the U.S. ranked 2nd on our list with a cancer mortality rate of 241.3. Some prostate and breast cancer risk factors that can be avoided are lack of physical activity, poor diet, being overweight or obese and drinking alcohol.

1. West Virginia

Formed by separating from Virginia during the Civil War, West Virginia had the highest cancer mortality rate of any state in the union, totaling at a rate of 263.7. Many of the known factors that lead to the development of cancer come down to lifestyle choices. By making healthy food and drink decisions, as well as exercising regularly, you could lower your risk of developing cancer.

What Do YOU Think?

Were you surprised by any of these? Do you live in any of these states? Does the possibility of developing cancer ever effect any of your lifestyle decisions? Let us know in the comments section!

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