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Cancer starts from the uncontrolled division of cells in the body. As the abnormal cells continue to grow, they form a tumor. As a tumor grows it can metastasize, or spread, and begin forming new tumors in different parts of the body. Not all cancers behave the same way; different types of cancer have different growth rates and respond differently to anti-cancer treatments. In medical terms, cancer is referred to as malignant neoplasms.
Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States. One in three women and one in two men will be diagnosed with cancer at some point during their life. Prevention, screening, and treatment options are available for most types of cancer and their use and advancements in each have decreased death rates due to cancer.
Cancer generally develops over several years and has many causes. Several factors both inside and outside the body, contribute to the development of cancer. Some of these factors include genetics, tobacco use, diet, weight, physical inactivity, and excessive sunlight exposure. Other factors include exposure to chemicals that may be present in food, air, or water such as asbestos, benzene, and arsenic.
Nobody is immune from getting cancer. Although scientific studies have identified specific factors which increase the risk for cancer, sometimes people without any risk factors still develop cancer and people with many risk factors do not develop cancer. The following list contains common cancer risk factors.
  • Older age; the risk of developing cancer increases with age
  • Race and ethnicity; people of certain races and ethnic background are at higher risk for certain types of cancer
  • Tobacco use
  • Certain environmental exposures
  • Genetics and family history
  • Certain medical conditions/diseases such as a weak immune system, diabetes, Crohn's disease, or human papillomavirus (HPV) infection
There are many ways to reduce your risk for cancer. Following these guidelines will not only reduce your risk for cancer, but improve your general health as well:
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Exercise regularly
  • Do not smoke; if you already smoke, look for ways to quit
  • If you drink alcohol, drink only in moderation
  • Receive proper immunizations; certain infectious diseases like the human papillomavirus (HPV) and Hepatitis B and C could lead to cancer later in life
  • Protect your skin from the sun; wear proper sun-protection clothing and use plenty of sunscreen when you are outside
  • Limit your exposure to environmental risk factors, such as asbestos, radon, arsenic, and benzene
  • Get regular medical check-ups, including cancer screening tests like mammography, Pap test, and colonoscopy. Early detection of cancer significantly improves the chances of a complete recovery.
Cancer data come from several sources:
  • Screening: The Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) monitors the use of preventive screening for a variety of cancer types such as mammography to detect breast cancer, Pap tests for cervical cancer, colonoscopy for colorectal cancer, and PSA tests for prostate cancer.
  • Incidence, stage at diagnosis, and survivorship: State cancer registries collect detailed information about cancer patients and the treatments they receive, which makes the monitoring of trends in incidence and mortality as well as the evaluation of prevention and control measures possible.
  • Mortality: Death certificates are a fundamental source of demographic, geographic, and cause-of-death information. They make it possible to track every death in the nation due to cancer. Deaths are reported as being due to cancer when the cancer was the underlying cause of death.

Cancer Incidence

Mortality: Cause of Death - NCHS 50 Leading Causes: Malignant neoplasms

Cancer - Adults (BRFSS)

Cancer Screening - Adults (BRFSS)

Skin Cancer Prevention - Adults (BRFSS)

Skin Cancer Prevention - Adolescents (YRBS)

Requests for a cancer statistical review should be made through your Local Health Department.

The Environmental Epidemiology Program (EEP) within the Utah Department of Health, assists Utah's local health departments by investigating public concerns of cancer clusters. The EEP receives data about cancer incidence reported from the Utah Cancer Registry. Using these data, the EEP is able to conduct statistical reviews of cancer incidence for Utah communities. The goals of a statistical review are to determine if there is more cancer than would be expected under normal circumstances; investigate the presence of potential environmental hazards (such as hazardous waste sites) which may be contributing to a community's cancer risk; and increase the public's knowledge regarding cancer and cancer risk factors. The protocol for conducting these investigations is located here: Protocol for Investigating Cancer Cluster Concerns in Utah.

Location Year Site Report Link
Box Elder County 2013 Western Bear River Valley
Davis County 2013 Dioxin Concerns in South Davis County
Davis County 2012 West Point
Davis County 2007 Layton
Davis County 2007 Bountiful and Woods Cross
Davis County 2005 Areas around Hill Air Force Base
Davis County 2003 Sunset and Clinton
Grand County 2013 Moab
Salt Lake County 2010, 2015 Red Butte Creek Oil Spill
Salt Lake County 2006 Cottonwood Heights
San Juan County 2006, 2012 Monticello Uranium and Vanadium Mill
Utah County 2004 Mapleton
Statewide 2015 Thyroid Cancer: Statewide Investigation
Statewide 2013 Brain Cancers: Statewide Investigation
Special Investigation 2008 Electromagnetic Fields Proximity in Schools
Special Investigation 2006 Childhood Leukemia to High Traffic Roads in Utah

The information provided above is from the Department of Health's Center for Health Data IBIS-PH web site ( The information published on this website may be reproduced without permission. Please use the following citation: " Retrieved Mon, 21 January 2019 15:37:39 from Department of Health, Center for Health Data, Indicator-Based Information System for Public Health Web site: ".

Content updated: Tue, 10 Jul 2018 15:38:13 MDT