Cancer Mortality in the Mississippi Delta Region: Descriptive Epidemiology and Needed Future Research and Interventions


The Delta Region is a federally designated, socioeconomically disadvantaged region of the United States covering 252 counties in eight states along the Mississippi River. The objective of this study is to describe the Region’s cancer mortality burden. National Center for Health Statistics data were used to calculate age-adjusted mortality rates and rate ratios for the Delta Region for all cancers, lung, colorectal, breast (female), cervical, and prostate cancers. Rates were also calculated for comparison groups, and were stratified by gender, race, rurality, and socioeconomic status. The all-cancer mortality rate in the Delta Region was higher than all comparison groups across all stratifications. Higher rates were seen for cervical and colorectal cancer across comparison groups and stratifications. Delta Blacks had higher rates than Whites, and rural Delta residents had higher rates than their urban peers for most cancers. Further research and interventions should be conducted to elucidate and reduce these disparities.