Information for the Community

The 2018 MA Cancer Report is now available for Download

Nearly 7 million people live in Massachusetts. A majority of residents have higher levels of income and education compared to the country, and more of them are covered by health insurance than any other state. As a result, residents of Massachusetts have better health overall than most people in the US.

Despite these relatively positive numbers, Cancer has become the leading cause of death among Massachusetts residents. Massachusetts rates of cancer incidence and mortality are higher than the U.S. overall. Within the state, cancer rates vary by race/ethnicity, gender, age, and geographic region.

But the true burden of cancer goes beyond statistics. Cancer affects people in many ways:

  • Financially (having trouble paying bills, skipping medication to save money)
  • Emotionally (depression, anxiety)
  • Long-term health effects (subsequent cancers, chronic diseases)
  • Effects on parents, children, families, caretakers, and others around the person who has/had cancer

​The Harvard cancer community brings together research, clinical care, and community outreach to address the effects of cancer on all Massachusetts residents. This report highlights some of the work we are doing to improve the health of Massachusetts residents by:

  • Assessing cancer’s effects on our population and identifying priorities for action
  • Engaging with others to address cancer in Massachusetts
  • Researching and discovering the best approaches to reducing the effects of cancer  

Harvard institutions support a variety of activities that reach out to communities to limit the burden of cancer to Massachusetts residents. These include: