The most recent data from the National Cancer Institute and the Centers for Disease Control suggests that cancer rates are falling in Michigan, but there are certain Michigan counties that - for a variety of possible reasons - have more than their fair share of cancer cases.

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How Do Cancer Rates in Michigan Compare to the Rest of the Country?

Between 2015 and 2019 - the most recent 5-year period for which data is available - Michigan averaged 446.7 cancer cases per 100,000 residents. That equates to more than 56,000 cases a year in the Mitten State, which is actually slightly below the national average.

The 5-year average shows incidences of cancer in most Michigan counties either holding relatively steady or dropping. Only Midland County shows cancer rates on the rise.

Photo via the National Cancer Institute
A graphic representation of cancer rates by county in Michigan - red and orange represent counties with the highest numbers; pale yellow counties are near average; and those with shades of blue have the lowest numbers of cancer cases. Photo via the National Cancer Institute

Don't Jump to Conclusions

There are a variety of factors which may cause a particular Michigan county to have comparatively higher or lower cancer rates than others.

The ethnic composition of any given county can affect its numbers. For instance, breast cancer rates tend to be higher among white women than women of color. Prostate cancer rates tend to be highest among black men.

Access to quality medical care can affect a county's cancer rates as well. Areas with better medical care options tend to have better access to proper cancer screening.

Age, health behaviors and other factors also play a role in the averages.

So, Which Michigan Counties Have the Highest Cancer Rates?

County by county, here are the average numbers of cancer cases per 100,000 residents between 2015 and 2019 in Michigan, according to the National Cancer Institute - ranked from lowest to highest.

Cancer by County in Michigan

Adjusted for population and other factors, here are all 83 Michigan counties ranked by incidences of cancer per 100,000 residents, as reported by the National Cancer Institute and the Centers for Disease Control.

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