This Delaware City Has Been Named the Highest Cancer Rates in the State

Photo of author
Written By Moses Bates

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet consectetur pulvinar ligula augue quis venenatis. 

Delaware, a small state, grapples with a significant issue: cancer. Recent data from the Delaware Division of Public Health reveals that the state ranks second in cancer incidence rate and fifteenth in cancer mortality rate nationwide. However, one city stands out for its alarming cancer statistics: Delaware City.

What is Delaware City?

Delaware City is a historical town situated in New Castle County, along the eastern bank of the Delaware River. Home to approximately 1,700 residents, the city spans an area of 1.3 square miles. Noteworthy for its picturesque waterfront, historic fort, and refinery, Delaware City is a prominent landmark in the state.

What are the cancer rates in Delaware City?

According to the Delaware Cancer Registry, Delaware City exhibited an average annual age-adjusted cancer incidence rate of 1,013.9 per 100,000 residents and an average annual age-adjusted cancer mortality rate of 307.4 per 100,000 residents during 2014-2018.

These figures significantly surpass the state averages of 449.1 and 169.6, respectively. Consequently, Delaware City had the highest cancer incidence rate and the second-highest cancer mortality rate among all cities and towns in Delaware during this period.

What are the possible causes of high cancer rates in Delaware City?

While the exact reasons behind Delaware City’s elevated cancer rates remain unclear, environmental exposure to toxic substances emerges as a potential factor. Delaware City hosts the Delaware City Refining Company, one of the largest oil refineries on the East Coast. Processing 190,000 barrels of crude oil daily, the refinery emits various carcinogenic air pollutants, including sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, volatile organic compounds, particulate matter, and benzene.

Lifestyle behaviors also contribute to cancer risk, with factors such as tobacco use, obesity, physical inactivity, poor nutrition, and alcohol consumption playing pivotal roles. These behaviors, influenced by personal choices and socioeconomic factors like access to healthcare and education, are prevalent in Delaware City, where lower median household income ($54,375) and a higher poverty rate (14.9%) are observed compared to state averages ($68,012 and 12.5%, respectively).

What can be done to reduce cancer rates in Delaware City?

Reducing cancer rates in Delaware City necessitates a collective effort from local and state authorities, healthcare providers, community organizations, and residents. Potential measures include:

  1. Enforcing stricter regulations and monitoring air quality and emissions from industrial sources like the refinery.
  2. Allocating additional resources for cancer prevention and screening programs, particularly for low-income and uninsured populations.
  3. Enhancing awareness and education about cancer symptoms, early detection, and treatment benefits.
  4. Promoting healthy behaviors and creating environments conducive to physical activity, balanced nutrition, weight management, tobacco cessation, and moderate alcohol consumption.
  5. Encouraging community engagement to address social determinants of health and advocate for health equity.


While Delaware City boasts a rich history and vibrant culture, the city faces a severe health challenge: high cancer rates. These rates may stem from environmental exposure to toxins and lifestyle behaviors influenced by socioeconomic factors. To combat this issue, a comprehensive, collaborative approach involving various sectors is essential. By working together, Delaware City can become a healthier place for all residents.

Leave a Comment