Cancers Among Adolescents and Young Adults in Maine 2001-2017: A Descriptive Analysis and Model for Future Studies

Document Type


Publication Date




Journal Title

Journal of adolescent and young adult oncology


Maine has had a high age-adjusted incidence rate of cancer and a high incidence rate of childhood cancer. However, it is unknown if Maine adolescents and young adults (AYAs) have a higher-than-expected cancer incidence rate. Based on the International Classification of Diseases of Oncology, Third Edition (ICD-0-3) classification system, we obtained the incidence rates of AYA cancers by state, sex, race, and ethnicity from 2001 to 2017 using CDC WONDER. Overall, all cancer rates and age-adjusted incidence rates for specific cancers were compared and ranked by state. Maine had a similar overall age-adjusted cancer incidence rate among non-Hispanic white AYAs compared with the national rate from 2001 to 2017. Among non-Hispanic white AYA cancers of the respiratory system, lung and bronchial cancers, uterine cancer, female breast cancer, thyroid cancer, lymphomas, and Hodgkin's lymphoma were significantly greater in Maine than the state with the lowest incidence rate for that cancer. Specifically, Maine was ranked as one of the top 10 states for the highest incidence rate of lung cancer, uterine cancer, Hodgkin's lymphoma, thyroid cancer (males only), and female breast cancer. Although the cancer incidence rate among AYAs in Maine was not significantly higher than the national average, Maine AYAs had a significantly higher incidence of lung cancer, uterine cancer, Hodgkin's lymphoma, thyroid cancer, and breast cancer. This information may direct future studies to identify regional cancer risk factors in Maine, which may account for this elevated rate. The described methodology is an innovative approach to identifying states with high cancer rates and directing future studies.