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Health Indicator Report of Cancer Deaths - Overall

Cancer is the second leading cause of death in New Mexico, and is a major cause of illness and suffering. Every year cancer causes almost 3,500 deaths in New Mexico, which is about one in every five deaths. Many cancers can be cured if detected early and treated promptly, and the detection and treatment of pre-cancerous conditions can actually prevent some cancers from developing. Policies, the physical environment, and lifestyle factors also play an important role in cancer prevention.


All cancer deaths are defined as malignant neoplasms (ICD10: C00-C97).   Data have been directly age-adjusted to the U.S. 2000 standard population.

Data Sources

  • New Mexico Death Data: Bureau of Vital Records and Health Statistics (BVRHS), New Mexico Department of Health.
  • Population Estimates: University of New Mexico, Geospatial and Population Studies (GPS) Program,
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics, CDC WONDER Online Database (


Cancer deaths per 100,000 population in New Mexico


Number of cancer deaths


New Mexico population

Healthy People Objective: C-1, Reduce the overall cancer death rate

U.S. Target: 160.6 deaths per 100,000 population

Other Objectives

Two of the goals of the New Mexico Cancer Plan 2012-2017 are: 1) Reduce rates of cancers caused by social, economic, and physical environment factors; 2) Reduce disparities and inequities in cancer incidence, morbidity, and mortality.

How Are We Doing?

New Mexico cancer mortality rates have been declining for the past two decades.

How Do We Compare With the U.S.?

Historically, New Mexico has had a lower cancer mortality rate than the U.S. overall. In fact, New Mexico's cancer mortality rate has been below the Healthy People 2020 goal of 160.6 per 100,000 since 2004, while the rate for the US overall first met that goal in 2015. The cancer mortality rate started to decrease for the U.S. and New Mexico in the early 1990s, attributable in large part to advances in cancer treatment and, to a lesser extent, to cancer screening. The rate of decrease in cancer mortality appears to be more rapid for the U.S. than for New Mexico.

What Is Being Done?

The Department of Health's Cancer Prevention and Control Section works with many partners statewide to offer education, information, and resources to the public and healthcare providers. Within the Cancer Section, the Comprehensive Cancer Program (CCP) was the lead agency in developing the New Mexico Cancer Plan 2012-2017, which is currently being updated for 2018-2022. The CCP's efforts are guided by the goals and objectives of the Cancer Plan, which is the roadmap for cancer control and prevention for the state of New Mexico. In addition, the CCP convenes the New Mexico Cancer Council, a collaboration of diverse public and private partners working together to attack cancer in New Mexico through the development, implementation and evaluation of the New Mexico Cancer Plan. The Council's goal is to increase access to information, prevention and treatment using innovative and effective programs and policies, thus reducing the human and economic burden of cancer and improving the outcomes and quality of life for New Mexicans. Interventions by Council members promote early detection of breast, cervical and colorectal cancers. Public education activities promote healthy behaviors to reduce cancer risk, including sun safety, smoking cessation, and physical activity.

Evidence-based Practices

The United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends screening for breast, cervical, colorectal and lung cancer. Screening can detect some cancers early when they may be more treatable. In addition, screening can actually prevent cervical and colorectal cancer by detecting pre-cancerous conditions and treating them before they can develop into cancer. Effective screening methods are not available for all cancers; however, research has shown that healthy behaviors including sun safety, smoking cessation, good nutrition and physical activity, maintaining a healthy weight, getting certain vaccines, and avoiding excessive alcohol use can reduce the risk of developing cancer.

Available Services

Many programs within the New Mexico Department of Health use evidence-based initiatives to address cancer in New Mexico. For further information, please visit the New Mexico Department of Health Cancer Prevention and Control Section website at:

Health Program Information

For more information or to obtain a copy of the New Mexico Cancer Plan, please visit the New Mexico Cancer Council website at:
Page Content Updated On 12/10/2018, Published on 12/18/2018
The information provided above is from the New Mexico Department of Health's NM-IBIS web site ( The information published on this website may be reproduced without permission. Please use the following citation: "Retrieved Sun, 24 October 2021 from New Mexico Department of Health, Indicator-Based Information System for Public Health Web site:".

Content updated: Tue, 18 Dec 2018 08:40:41 MST