Background. Vital statistics data were used to describe the burden of cancer in Texas. Methods. Average annual age-adjusted mortality data in Texas (1986 to 1990) for 17 cancer types were compared with the US data for whites and blacks and with California data for Hispanics. Trends were examined from 1980 to 1990 for the entire state and from 1976 to 1989 for 24 geographic regions within the state. Results. Mortality excesses were detected for lung and liver cancer, and deficits for colorectal, breast, and prostate cancers. Rates were generally stable from 1980 to 1990 with several exceptions (lung, liver, colon). Six areas of Texas, including four areas along the Gulf Coast, had relatively more excesses of various cancers, without a discernible pattern by cancer type. Conclusions. Overall, Texas has fared favorably in cancer mortality when compared with the United States. Enhanced evaluation of the frequency of cancer, as well as the conduct of etiologic research, must await the availability of statewide long-term cancer incidence data.
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