AHRQ: Northeastern U.S. has high incidence of brain cancer

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People in the Northeastern United States are one-third more likely than those in the South or West to be hospitalized for treatment of brain cancer or to be diagnosed with brain cancer when hospitalized for another illness or complication, according to the latest News and Numbers report from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).

In 2006, about 30 out of every 100,000 people in the Northeast were hospitalized with brain cancer, compared with 23 per 100,000 people in both the South and West. The rate was slightly higher for people in the Midwest--25 per 100,000.

AHRQ said its analysis also shows that in 2006:

  • The hospitalization rate for brain cancer in the U.S. has remained stable since 1995--roughly about 35,000 hospital stays a year.
  • An additional 38,000 hospital admissions were associated with brain cancer--mostly for chemotherapy or radiotherapy to continue treatment, or for convulsions, pneumonia or other complication from the disease. The hospitalizations increased 18 percent since 1995.
  • Among people older than 65, men were 62 percent more likely to be hospitalized primarily for brain cancer and 55 percent more likely to be hospitalized with brain cancer as a secondary diagnosis than were women.
  • While 6.2 percent of hospital patients admitted for brain cancer died while hospitalized in 1995, the rate dropped to 4.4 percent in 2006.

The report used statistics from the 2006 Nationwide Inpatient Sample, a database of hospital inpatient stays that is nationally representative of inpatient stays in all short-term, non-federal hospitals. The data are drawn from hospitals that comprise 90 percent of all discharges in the U.S. and include all patients, regardless of insurance type, as well as the uninsured.