The American Cancer Society released national numbers Thursday showing deaths from the disease dropped by just over three-thousand from 2003 to 2004. Gretchen Tegeler, Vice-President, of the state chapter of the American Cancer Society, says Iowa is part of the nationwide drop, with 70 fewer deaths.
Tegeler says Iowa has seen a slight decline consistent with the national numbers. But while national numbers show declines for deaths in four major cancer sites, lung, prostrate, colon and breast, Tegeler says Iowa is behind in declines for lung cancer. Tegeler says Iowa doesn’t do enough to prevent lung cancer.
Tegeler says Iowa lags behind the nation in its public policy work to prevent lung cancer, which she says goes back to failure to pass an increase in the cigarette tax and clean air initiatives.
Tegeler says the latest decline in Iowa cancer deaths has significance when you take a deeper look at the issue. Tegeler says mortality rates began to fall in the mid 90’s and this is the first time we’ve seen two years in a row with a drop in actual deaths. She says Iowa’s population is growing older, and while cancer tends to hit older people more often, we’re still seeing a decline in cancer deaths. For more information, visit: www.cancer.org .