Monday, November 1, 2010

Mortality Maps Reveal Rise in Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma

Today, I would like to discuss two maps of the United States. These are not your typical maps with street names and parks. Instead, these maps show the mortality rate for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and they were published by the National Cancer Institute. Mortality rate refers to the "death rate," or the percentage of people who die from a given cause. Morbid, yes, but bear with me because these maps reveal some interesting stuff.

The first map displays data from 1950-1969:

The second shows data from 1970-1994:

The first thing you probably notice is that there's a whole lot more red on the second map. This means that more people are suffering from NHL. Several sources have noted a dramatic increase in NHL over the past few decades:
  • "Research has documented a steady increase in non-Hodgkin's lymphoma over the past several decades." (ScienceDaily)
  • "Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma (NHL) is one of the fastest rising cancers in the developing countries. In many countries, including the US and Canada, the number of new cases diagnosed each year have almost doubled in the past 30 years." (
  • "Between 1973 and 1991, the 73 percent increase in the incidence of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma was one of the largest among the major cancer sites in the United States." (
What's to blame for this substantial rise in NHL? Some say the rise in HIV is responsible, as immune deficiency is a risk factor. Others say we simply have better detection methods. Your guess is as good as mine, but one thing's for sure: NHL is becoming a more prevalent problem and deserves greater attention, funding and research.

*Note that these two maps compare NHL mortality rates for white women. To see the maps for other demographics, click here.


  1. Very interesting to see it broken down into maps. It seems that a good deal of NHL is concentrated in the center of the country... Curious why that may be.

  2. Perhaps the dramatic rise has to do with the terrible corporate agricultural era we've slipped into. Our food is literally poisoning us, and it is established that environmental toxins have a lot to do with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. Thank you, Monsanto.

  3. Here's a clue that PCBs played a role: