We learned last week that the wife of democratic vice-presidential candidate John Edwards has cancer. The news that Elizabeth Edwards was given a diagnosis of breast cancer was a topic of conversation for many, and Doctor Carol Scott-Conner says doctors were talking about it, too. The doctor says Mrs Edwards is experiencing what many women go through — she’s found a lump in her breast, and a preliminary test has been done that tells her she has beast cancer. She’s in the early stages of finding out what kind of cancer it is, how bad it is, and what treatment she’s going to need. Dr Scott-Conner’s a professor of surgery at the University of Iowa, and teaches students “hands on” in a medical practice. Scott-Conner says it sounds like Elizabeth Edwards is going through something similar to what she’s seen many Iowa women go through, and hopefully it’s a treatable kind as many are, and she’ll undergo treatment and go on with her life. In 2003 it’s estimated that 2,200 women in Iowa would be diagnosed with breast cancer and about 450 would die from it. In Iowa breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed kind of cancer in women, she says. While lung cancer has been overtaking breast cancer, that doesn’t seem to be the case in Iowa, where she says fewer women smoke. Most women who find lumps in their breasts learn that it’s nothing serious. That’s why she says doctors want women to come in and get checked, and “If it’s nothing, we’re delighted.” She says Iowa’s rate of breast cancer, with about 22-hundred cases found each year and about 450 women dying of it, is proportional to the rate of the disease in the nation.
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