New study published in scientific journal Gastroenterology.
Investigators at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine were part of an international collaboration of gastroenterologists, epidemiologists and oncologists who study gastrointestinal (GI) deaths in U.S. counties. Scientific journal Gastroenterology recently published the researchers’ findings.
Counties with the highest 5% mortality rates for gastric, pancreatic and colorectal cancer were primarily in the Southeastern U.S. Colorectal cancer mortality was particularly high in counties in Arkansas, Louisiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina and northern Florida.
Cigarette smoking and living in rural areas were the factors most closely linked with GI cancer-related mortality.
South Florida had mixed results when it came to mortality from the different GI cancer types.
“Compared to the rest of the U.S., in South Florida we have much lower rates of mortality from esophageal and pancreatic cancer, average rates of mortality from colorectal cancer and above-average rates of mortality from gastric cancer,” said Sylvester researcher David Goldberg, M.D., associate professor of medicine in the Division of Digestive Health and Liver Diseases at the Miller School.
“Our diverse population that includes many immigrants from countries with above-average rates of Helicobacter pylori is likely one of the reasons for our higher rates of mortality from gastric cancer,” said Dr. Goldberg.
The high rate of gastric cancers diagnosed in South Florida underscores the importance of identifying and eradicating modifiable risk factors, according to study author and Sylvester researcher Daniel Sussman, M.D.
Sylvester researchers are working to identify community prevalence rates for H. pylori using Sylvester’s Game Changer mobile screening vehicles, and antimicrobial susceptibility of H. pylori. The Game Changer vehicles help increase access to cancer screening and close the gap in equitable care.