An annual report released by the University of Iowa estimates 6,400 Iowans will die from cancer this year and 17,400 residents will be diagnosed with some type of cancer. Charles Lynch is medical director of the State Health Registry of Iowa and a professor of epidemiology at the U-I College of Public Health.
He says the numbers are similar to those reported in recent years. “But, they are indicative of a declining age adjusted rate of cancer in the state because cancer is primarily a disease of older people and our population continues to age in the state of Iowa,” Lynch said. “So, our numbers are staying stable when we should be seeing even more cases.”
Lung cancer remains the top cancer killer of Iowans. “It accounts for about one out of every four cancer deaths in Iowa,” Lynch said. “The number of lung cancer deaths exceeds female breast, prostate, and colorectal cancers combined,” Lynch said. The “Cancer in Iowa: 2014” report released today features a section focused on HPV or human papillomavirus-related cancers.
HPV is a common sexually transmitted infection. “The reason we’re emphasizing it this year is because there has been a vaccine developed, it’s been available since 2006, but it’s been under-utilized in Iowa and across the nation,” Lynch said. “There’s a push right now to get more people vaccinated and preferably we’d like to get them vaccinated before they become exposed to the HPV virus.”
Lynch recommends 11 and 12 year old children get the vaccine, but the FDA has approved the vaccine for individuals up to the age of 26.