The alphabet may put Vermont right after Utah, but pancreatic cancer mortality has them on opposite sides of the country. Utah’s estimated pancreatic cancer rate of 8.7 per 100,000 population for 2018 is the lowest in the United States, and Vermont’s rate of 17.7 per 100,000 is the highest.

Approximately 44,330 deaths from pancreatic cancer are predicted for this year by the American Cancer Society (ACS) in its Cancer Facts & Figures 2018, which is based on analysis of 2001-2015 data from the National Center for Health Statistics. That estimate is up from the 43,090 projected for 2017; the death rate has been rising 0.2% a year since 2006 in whites but decreasing in blacks by 0.5% per year.

The expected number of deaths for 2018 and the current U.S. population estimate of nearly 326 million produce an expected death rate of 13.6 per 100,000 population. The Census Bureau estimates for the state populations, the deaths projected by the ACS, and a little math result in expected death rates of 8.7 per 100,000 for Utah and 17.7 for Vermont.

The incidence of pancreatic cancer increased by about 1% per year in whites and was stable in blacks from 2005 to 2014, although the rate of new cases in blacks is still about 25% higher than it is for whites. An estimated 55,440 new cases are expected in the United States in 2018, the ACS reported.

Although the survival rate for cancer of the pancreas has tripled since the mid-1970s, it is still much lower than for any other cancer. Five-year relative survival went from 3% in 1975-1977 to 9% in 2007-2013 for pancreatic cancer, while liver and intrahepatic bile duct cancer, which had the next-lowest survival rate, went from 3% to 19%, the ACS said.