Health

Arizona has Lowest Rate of Cancer in Nation, Report Says

Arizona is near the bottom when it comes to per-capita income, education spending, and its chances of an economic recovery. But being last isn't always a bad thing:

A new report shows that Arizona has the lowest rates of cancer in the country. According to a news release put out today by the state Department of Health Services:

Arizona has the lowest incidence of all cancers combined among men and women, the lowest rate of cancers among men, and the second-lowest rate of all cancers among women.
Paradoxically, though, Arizonans tend to suck at seeking treatment for what cancer they do get until it's way too late, officials say.

The DHS is using the news in the latest cancer report to bring attention to the lax health screenings of residents, launching a month-long survey to pry ideas from the minds of Internet users. Click here for the survey.

Didn't it used to be Utah always getting the lowest cancer rates? Plenty of Arizonans smoke, drink, and inhale the miasmic mess that passes for air in the Valley, so... why the heck is Arizona doing so well?

"There's not really an answer for that," says Mary Ehlert of the DHS.

Arizona has one of the highest tobacco taxes in the country, she says, but Arizona is seventh from the bottom as far as smoking rates -- in other words, a lower smoking rate doesn't completely explain the cancer situation.

Then again, it's the other states that need to worry why Arizona's rate is so low -- we'll just raise a glass to our health.

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Ray Stern has worked as a newspaper reporter in Arizona for more than two decades. He's won numerous awards for his reporting, including the Arizona Press Club's Don Bolles Award for Investigative Journalism.