Iowa has the highest cancer rate in the nation and the second highest incidence of new cancer types in the country, according to a University of Iowa report. Although nearly 21,000 new cancers will be diagnosed, the survival rate is going up in Iowa. Comments from study author Mary Charlton, associate professor of epidemiology, University of Iowa.
A study by University of Iowa researchers shows the state has the highest cancer rate in the nation, and the only state in the country with rising cancer numbers. Iowa is also second highest in the incidence of new cancers. However, the report shows while almost 21-thousand new cancers will be diagnosed in Iowa this year, more people are surviving. The Iowa Cancer Registry study shows the top four types of cancers are what researches refer to as the Big Four: Breast, Prostate, Lung and Colorectal. University of Iowa professor Mary Charlton is the study’s lead author. She says while those four make up a majority of cancer cases in the state, there is no clear front runner in terms of which type people are developing, and the cancers run the gamut.
“Almost all kind of major cancer types across the board from oral cavity, leukemia, melanoma, lymphoma. It seems like there is maybe not just one factor causing it. It could be lifestyle. It could be environmental. “
The report shows that Iowa leads the nation in oral cavity and pharynx cancers, known as head and neck cancers, which Charlton says can be caused by excessive alcohol and tobacco use. That would stand to reason, she says, as Iowa still has a high rate of alcohol consumption and smoking compared with other states.
“We’re really high in leukemia. That’s been consistent over time. That’s one that maybe could leave people to believe that there might be something environmental because it can come on so early before anything like lifestyle or anything like that would impact that. “
The study shows that Iowans are also surviving cancer at higher rates. Over the last 50 years, 47-percent of people diagnosed with cancer survived it, compared with 67-percent in 2023. Charlton partially attributes the high cancer rates to effective screening in Iowa, which allows doctors to find more cancers earlier, resulting in higher survival rates in the state. But she also says Iowans tend to be heavier and more sedentary than people in other parts of the country, which can contribute to cancer. Iowa stands in the middle of the pack when it comes to cancer deaths; the report predicts about 62-hundred Iowans will die from cancer this year, with lung cancer being the most lethal.
***Courtesy of the Iowa News Service***