J Clin Gastroenterol. 2023 Sep 28. doi: 10.1097/MCG.0000000000001929. Online ahead of print.
BACKGROUND: Pancreatic cancer is the third leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States. Despite decreasing cancer mortality rates as a whole, pancreatic cancer death rates in the United States remain steady and demonstrate racial/ethnic disparities. Divergent cancer mortality trends have also been observed between metro and nonmetro populations. We therefore aimed to compare metro and nonmetro trends in pancreatic cancer mortality rates in the United States from 1999 to 2020 and investigate potential sex and racial/ethnic differences.
METHODS: We analyzed National Center for Health Statistics data for all pancreatic cancer deaths among individuals aged 25 years or older in the United States. We estimated the average annual percent change (AAPC) in age-standardized pancreatic cancer mortality rates in metro versus nonmetro areas by sex and race/ethnicity.
RESULTS: Of the total 810,425 pancreatic cancer-related deaths identified from 1999 to 2020, 668,547 occurred in metro areas and 141,878 in nonmetro areas. Non-Hispanic Black individuals had the highest rates of pancreatic cancer mortality regardless of metropolitan status. In both metro and nonmetro areas, pancreatic cancer mortality rates among non-Hispanic White individuals increased over the study period (AAPC: metro, males, 0.32%; females, 0.27%; nonmetro, males, 0.77%; females, 0.62%). Non-Hispanic Black individuals in metro areas had a decrease in pancreatic cancer mortality (AAPC: males, -0.25%; females, -0.29%), but rates among non-Hispanic Black women in nonmetro areas increased (AAPC, 0.49%).
CONCLUSIONS: There are variations not only in pancreatic cancer mortality by metro and nonmetro status but also by sex and race/ethnicity within these areas. Individuals who live in nonmetro areas have higher pancreatic cancer mortality rates and increasing death rates compared with their metro counterparts. These findings highlight the need for targeted cancer prevention strategies that are specific to metro or nonmetro populations.