Cancer rate higher in South Jersey than in North Jersey

An analysis of New Jersey cancer registry data finds South Jersey residents have higher rates of the disease.

The big difference is a higher incidence of lung cancer in South Jersey that’s associated with higher smoking rates, says Blair Horner, American Cancer Society vice president.

“Northern Jersey tends to have counties with higher average incomes than southern Jersey,” Horner said. “Typically, smoking rates go down the more people¹s income goes up, and I would guess the very aggressive anti-smoking programs in New York City have had an impact in northern Jersey suburbs.”

The American Cancer Society is recommending New Jersey increase funding for anti-smoking programs and ensure all residents have access to affordable health insurance coverage.

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“We want the state to start investing the billion dollars that it raises in tobacco revenues in programs to curb smoking,” Horner said. “New Jersey only funds it

now at about $1.5 million. We would like ultimately to follow the advice of the federal experts and spend $100 million on this program and phase it in over time.”

More than 40,000 New Jerseyans were diagnosed with cancer last year and 16,000 died from it.

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