Projections for the number of Iowans who will die from cancer this year are unchanged from last year, but the death rate is dropping for one type of cancer.
The annual “Cancer in Iowa” study from the State Health Registry of Iowa, based at the University of Iowa’s College of Public Health, predicts cancer will kill 6,400 Iowans this year.
Professor Sonia Sugg, medical director at the U-of-I’s Breast Health Center, says Iowa’s breast cancer mortality rate is falling. She credits several elements: “Early detection, lifestyle changes and also an improvement in treatment.”
One of those lifestyle changes includes maintaining a healthy weight. Professor Sugg says obesity increases the risk of developing breast cancer, plus, if diagnosed, being obese will likely shorten a patient’s lifespan.
Sugg says, “If someone can maintain a healthy weight, they not only can decrease their chance of getting breast cancer but they can also do better if they do, in fact, get diagnosed with breast cancer.” The number of Iowa women who have died from breast cancer has dropped 40-percent since its peak in 1992.
Survival rates for breast cancer are climbing and now, 33-thousand Iowa women are living with a breast cancer diagnosis. Another plus, Sugg says the experts can identify different types of breast cancer sooner, allowing them to use a more focused style of treatement.
Sugg says, “The use of hormone replacement therapy can increase the risk of developing breast cancer so we’re much more careful about prescribing hormone replacement therapy to women.”
The overall prediction that cancer will kill 6,400 Iowans this year is 17 times the number of deaths from motor vehicle crashes. Also, it’s estimated 17,300 Iowans will be diagnosed with cancer this year.
See the full cancer report at: www.public-health.uiowa.edu/shri/