Cancer Incidence Rates/Cancer Death Rates


Please read footnotes, titles, and explanations with each chart for the source(s) and explanation of data.  It is important to note that some of the data presented below can not be taken as absolutely definitive since a minimum of 15 cases are required to calculate a stable age-adjusted rate. Considering the small populations in our rural counties, in several instances, the age-adjusted rates displayed below were calculated with fewer than 15 cases.  Also, where the information is left blank, counts/rates were suppressed, likely due to having fewer than 5 reported cases within the specified category.


Some of the tables below have filters.  In such, use these filters to select the “category” for which you are interested, this will also change the trend chart.  Then, click the county/counties within the legend of the associated trend chart to view the county/counties for which you are interested.

Cancer Incidence Rates per 100,000

Select the category by using the filter below. Select and De-select counties by clicking the legend options.



  • Age-adjusted Rate

Cancer Death Rates per 100,000

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  • Age-adjusted Rate

Analysis (June 2021)

Using the data from the tables above, five-year average rates were calculated (see below) as several counties had small case numbers and wide variability in rates over the years.

Average 5 Year Cancer Incidence Rates (2013-2017)

wdt_ID County Colorectal Cancer Lung Cancer Breast Cancer (Female)
1 Adair 56.9 82.2 98.9
2 Casey 44.8 98.5 113.9
3 Clinton 60.6 111.0 69.8
4 Cumberland 54.8 112.6 125.1
5 Green 49.5 91.0 146.9
6 McCreary 63.5 119.3 99.6
7 Pulaski 51.0 94.8 130.2
8 Russell 65.5 105.9 115.2
9 Taylor 65.4 94.4 136.2
10 Wayne 53.2 93.7 98.2
12 Kentucky 48.0 90.1 127.5


Kentucky ranks among the worst in the nation for cancer rates. More than 4 out of 10 cancer cases in adults could be prevented. Cigarette smoking, alcohol use, physical inactivity, excessive body weight, lower than optimal consumption of fruit, vegetables, and fiber, and too much processed or red meat increase the risk for many cancers.

Although lung cancer incidence is much high in our district compared to the US, the rates over the last decade are trending down in all counties except for Russell which is at a plateau. McCreary County still has the highest incidence as well as the highest rate of tobacco use.

Female breast cancer incidence is lower in the Lake Cumberland district than the nation, except for Green and Taylor Counties, where the 4 year average rates have increased.

Colon cancer rates over the period 2010-2019 are trending down in nine of our 10 counties except for Adair which has seen an increase.  All counties still have rates higher than the US, with Green Co having the lowest average 5 year rate and Russell and Taylor, the highest.


Smoking tobacco is responsible for 90% of lung cancers;  lower smoking trends are driving lung cancer incidence down.

The health department in conjunction with local coalitions continues to encourage Smoke-free public environments, as secondhand smoke increases the risk of developing lung cancer in non-smokers.

Risk factors for breast cancer include alcohol use and obesity. Also, early detection lowers death rates as cancers found early are easier to treat. The LCDHD provides cancer screening services with a referral for mammography.

Low dietary calcium and fiber intake, and excessive consumption of red or processed meat increase the risk of colon cancer. Colon cancer screening, either by stool tests or colonoscopy, helps to find pre-cancers that can be removed prior to progression to cancer. Over the years 2013-2015, the LCDHD  implemented a colon cancer education and free screening program which undoubtedly contributed to the decreases seen in colon cancer numbers.