Cancer in NEPA

The Northeast Regional Cancer Institute, a community-based nonprofit organization, is pleased to announce the release of the 2020 cancer surveillance report, “Cancer in Northeastern Pennsylvania: Incidence and Mortality for Common Cancers” available at:

This unique, locally focused report documents that both incidence and mortality rates for cancer are significantly higher in NEPA than the U.S. and identifies those cancer sites for which there is a disparity in either incidence or mortality.
In NEPA, we continue to have statistically significantly higher than U.S. rates for lung and other tobacco related cancers, in both men and women.  In 2010, the National Lung Screening Trial results showed a 20% reduction in lung cancer mortality when using low dose computed tomography (LDCT) when compared to chest x-ray for lung cancer screening. In 2013, the United States Preventive Services Task Force issued a new recommendation on lung cancer screening using LDCT.  This screening is covered by many health insurances including Medicare, however, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, rates of lung cancer screening in those who meet the eligibility criteria and received a recommendation to be screened remain low; only one in eight have been screened.
Also noteworthy is the continued increase in the incidence of colorectal cancer in individuals under the age of 50, while overall incidence continues to decline.  Colorectal cancer is preventable through adequate screening.  We encourage all individuals, age 45 and older, to discuss colon cancer screening with their primary care provider. Clinicians should consider the possibility of an underlying malignancy among patients with symptoms consistent with this diagnosis, including those under the recommended screening initiation age of 45.  This may be especially true in northeast Pennsylvania where the incidence of colorectal cancer is higher than the U.S. average.
The Cancer Institute can provide additional information regarding the latest report, tobacco cessation resources, and assistance in getting screened through our Community Based Cancer Screening Navigation Program. Please feel free to contact the Cancer Institute at (570) 941-7984 or [email protected]
*This was a letter to the editor sent out to the local papers and written by our Patient Navigator/Surveillance Coordinator, Karen Ryczak.