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Cancer Deaths Fall but Cases Rise

A new report estimates 21,000 Iowans will be diagnosed with cancer this year, an increase from last year, while the projected number of Iowans who will die from cancer this year is falling. Iowa Cancer Registry director Mary Charlton, a professor of epidemiology at the University of Iowa, says they’re focusing on raising awareness about alcohol-related cancers in this year’s report.

While drinking any alcohol can increase one’s cancer risk, she says heavy drinking and binge drinking pose the greatest risks. For the second straight year, national rankings show Iowa has the second highest rate of new cancer cases in the county, behind only Kentucky. Smoking is a key risk factor and Kentucky’s smoking rate has fallen while Iowa’s rate is rising. Charlton says several other cancers are contributing to the rankings.

The report finds Iowa’s cancer mortality rates are dropping slowly, while the state’s number of cancer cases is rising, thanks in large part to early detection screenings and treatments.

Since the registry’s annual report was first published in 1973, Charlton says the number of cancer survivors has grown, with nearly 169,000 Iowans now having a history of cancer. The most prevalent types of cancer in Iowa are staying steady.

The annual report allows doctors and researchers to focus on how to prevent and treat cancer, she says, and it provides Iowans with the knowledge they need to get advance screening and improve survival rates across the board. See the full report here:


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