Did you know that not only do deadly diseases get broken down by continent, country and state, but that they are also broken down by individual county as well? And of course, Maine is no exception to that hyper-local data.

According to the American Cancer Society, there were 1.9 million Americans diagnosed with cancer in 2021. In the same year, there were 608,570 reported deaths from cancer. It is an awful disease that claims millions of lives globally each year and the search for cures continues around the world.

So, when it comes to the Pine Tree State, which counties have the highest cancer rates per capita? Fortunately, or unfortunately depending on how you look at it, that information is easily accessible from Maine.Gov.

Maine's flagship government website publishes a regional cancer study every couple of years as it takes literal years to obtain fresh data for the study. The most  recent cancer data, which primarily comes from a 2019 study, finds that the most prevalent forms of cancer in Maine were lung, female breast, prostate, colon and rectum, urinary bladder and melanoma of the skin, according to Maine.gov.

Other prevalent cancers in Maine included non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, kidney and renal, uterine and pancreatic cancer, the study went on to report. So, how does Maine break down counties with highest cancer rates? Well, let's break it down.

Maine uses survey data to determine incidence of malignant cancer diagnosis per 100,000 people per year. Recently, they published a rolling average from the years 2017,2018 and 2019.

The Maine county with the third highest rates of malignant cancer was Hancock. Hancock, which encompasses parts of down east Maine, had a rolling average of 511 malignant cancer diagnosis per every 100,000 people per year.

The second highest rate of cancer was identified in Maine's Penobscot County. Penobscot County covers a vast area that includes Bangor, Orono, Brewer, Millinocket and several other towns. Penobscot's cancer rate was 529.4 malignant cancer diagnosis per every 100,000 people, Maine.Gov reported.

Rounding out the top 3 was Piscatiquis county. From Dover-Foxcroft to Kingsbury Plantation and several towns in-between, Piscatiquis county had the highest rates of malignant cancer diagnosis at a staggering 563.1 people diagnosed annually per every 100,000 people.

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Gallery Credit: Michelle Heart

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