Breast cancer is the most common cancer in the United States, with more than 268,000 new diagnoses every year, according to the National Cancer Institute. About 95 percent of those diagnosed are women, but men aren’t immune—around 2,550 men will be diagnosed each year.
Breast cancer is prevalent all over the country, but not all states are equal. On average, about 125 women per 100,000 are diagnosed with breast cancer each year, but in some states the rates are much higher. The state where you’ll find the highest rate of new cases is New Hampshire, where 144 women per 100,000 were diagnosed annually between 2011 and 2015, according to the CDC. The other states with the highest breast cancer rates during that period were Connecticut; Washington, D.C.; Massachusetts; and Hawaii.
On the flip side, the state with the lowest breast cancer rate is Nevada, with an annual average of 109 per 100,000 women diagnosed during that period. Following behind come Texas, New Mexico, Wyoming, and Arizona. Try these 10 foods that can lower your risk of breast cancer.
It’s unclear what’s behind the differing rates. New Hampshire’s population is 95 percent white—and white women have a statistically higher risk of breast cancer—but Washington, D.C., which has the second-highest rate, is 45 percent white. It also doesn’t seem to be about state health care, since WalletHub ranked New Hampshire’s system as the third best in the country.
High diagnosis rates also don’t necessarily mean the worst outcomes—the District of Columbia has the highest breast cancer mortality rate, followed by Louisiana and Mississippi. In contrast, Hawaii (which has the fifth-highest rate of diagnosis) has the lowest rate of breast cancer deaths. Check out the states with the highest overall cancer rates.
No matter where you live, there are steps you can take to protect yourself against breast cancer. Although some factors, like age, genetics, and early menstruation, can’t be avoided, other risks can. The NIH recommends maintaining a healthy weight, getting enough exercise, quitting smoking, and keeping alcohol consumption to a minimum. Don’t miss these other 50 everyday habits that reduce your risk of breast cancer.