Health Index Priority: Decrease Cancer Deaths

MaineHealth aims to provide access to the best cancer care, at the right place and at the right time, as close to home as possible.  The system also strives to prevent cancers by reducing tobacco use and obesity.

Why does MaineHealth focus on decreasing cancer deaths?

  • Cancer is the number one cause of premature mortality in the MaineHealth service area.
  • The age-adjusted rate of cancer deaths in MaineHealth service area was statistically above the U.S. rate in 2016.
  • In the last decade, over 25,000 people within the MaineHealth service area have died from cancer.
  • About 60% of all cancer deaths are related to the risk factors of smoking and obesity.

Taking Action

We support a variety of clinical, community and policy actions to help decrease cancer deaths throughout the MaineHealth service area. Here are some of the ways that MaineHealth and our partners are responding:

Tracking Progress

The Health Index Initiative tracks and monitors a variety of data sources to measure progress being made to decrease cancer deaths.In 2016, MaineHealth leaders set bold, aggressive targets for two of these measures as a way to challenge MaineHealth organizations to continue achieving positive steps toward the MaineHealth vision.

Short-term cancer measure and target:

  • As of September 30, 2018, 80% or more of patients 50- to 75-year olds whose primary care is provided at MaineHealth Accountable Care Organization practices will receive appropriate screening for colorectal cancer.

 

Long-term cancer measure and target:

  • For the period 2018-2020 the 3-year, age-adjusted rate of all cancer deaths in the MaineHealth Service area will be 146/100,000 of the population.

 

Colorectal Cancer Screening Rates (Short-term measure and target)

MHACO Colon Cancer Screening

 A key factor that contributed to the decline in cancer death rates in Maine was the increased use of evidence-based colorectal cancer screenings.  Screenings help identify tumors in earlier stages and can even prevent cancer by removing precancerous polyps.  Primary care practices within the MaineHealth Accountable Care Organization are working to continue increasing colorectal cancer screening rates among their 50- to 75-year-old patients.  The percentage of patients who had the appropriate screening for colorectal cancer rose from 65% as of December 2016 to 74% as of December 2017. 

Cancer Death Rates (Long-term measure and target)

CancerLongTermTarget

Although the age adjusted rate of cancer deaths in the MaineHealth service area is decreasing, the rate of 172.0/100,000 is well above the US rate of 161.0/100,000. Cancer remains the number one cause of premature (before age 70) mortality in Maine; over 3,000 Maine people died from cancer in 2016.

Incidence of Cancer

 HealthIndexCancer Incidence

Although overall cancer incidence is decreasing for most types of cancer, the Maine cancer incidence rates are higher than those in the US overall.

Interactive maps with county-level data

Looking for more cancer data? Visit the Health Index website to find data on cancer incidence, cancer deaths and cancer screening rates in Maine and Carroll County, New Hampshire.
Explore more data

Latest News

View All

Upcoming Classes & Events

View All
  • Grief Support Group 1
    Damariscotta ME

    Miles & St. Andrew Home Health & Hospice’s grief support group meets on the second and fourth Tuesday afternoon at 2P in Damariscotta. At each...

    Read More
  • Yoga for Back Health 1
    Thomaston ME

    Do you suffer from chronic back pain or soreness? Join Patti Prema Kristiansen, IAYT certified yoga therapist, to learn stretching and...

    Read More