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Release: Immediate

State Health Registry of Iowa releases its 1998 cancer report

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Cancer is second only to heart disease as a leading cause of death in Iowa and will claim the lives of an estimated 6,350 Iowans in 1998. This information is provided in an annual report issued by the State Health Registry of Iowa, based at the University of Iowa College of Medicine.

Cancer in Iowa: 1998 is the Registry's latest report on new cancer cases and cancer deaths in Iowa. The report notes that an estimated 14,000 new cancer cases will be diagnosed in the state this year. More than 80 percent of these new cancers will occur in people age 55 and older.

"Applying Iowa's 1995 census population of 2.84 million people means that about five of every 1,000 Iowans will be newly diagnosed with some type of cancer this year," says

Dr. Charles Lynch, UI associate professor of preventive medicine and environmental health and medical director of the Iowa Cancer Registry.

Breast cancer, followed by cancers of the colon and rectum, lung, and uterus will be the most common new cancer cases diagnosed in women this year. For men, prostate cancer will be most commonly identified in 1998, followed by lung cancer, colorectal cancer and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

Lung cancer will remain the leading cause of cancer death for men and women in Iowa in 1998, the report states. The second leading cause of cancer death for women will be breast cancer, and for men will be prostate cancer. Colorectal cancer will be the third leading cause of cancer death for both men and women. "Prostate, lung, colon and rectum, and female breast cancers will account for more than half of all new cancers and cancer deaths identified this year," Lynch says.

This year's report includes annual incidence and mortality rates for breast, lung and prostate cancers among Iowa men and women from 1973-1995. Rates for newly diagnosed breast cancers peaked in 1988, and the rates for new prostate cancers peaked in 1992. These trends were due partly to increased use of mammography and prostate-specific antigen testing, respectively, which have led to increased detection of these cancers. Cancer death rates from 1973-1995 for breast cancer and prostate cancer have remained fairly steady, while female lung cancer mortality rates have been increasing since 1973. Male lung cancer mortality rates peaked in 1988 and have declined erratically since then.

The report also features a section comparing the percent change in rates from 1973-75 and 1993-1995 for new cancer cases and cancer deaths by sex and type of cancer. Both sexes experienced decreases in incidence and mortality for pancreatic and stomach cancers. Bladder cancer, and childhood cancers as a group, had increases in incidence, but decreases in mortality. Acute lymphocytic leukemia, the most common type of childhood cancer, also showed an increase in incidence and a decrease in mortality. Increases in both incidence and mortality were seen for cancers of the brain, esophagus, kidney and renal pelvis, lung and bronchus, and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. Lynch notes that most of the incidence and mortality changes cited in this section of the report are very similar to those reported for the entire U.S. population by the National Cancer Institute (NCI).

"For cancer prevention and control efforts to be truly successful, we would like to see decreasing rates for both incidence and mortality," Lynch says. "These data demonstrate that we are achieving this for some cancer types, but not for others. Thus, there remains considerable room for improvement."

The State Health Registry of Iowa has been recording the occurrence of cancer in Iowa since 1973. It is one of 10 registries nationwide providing data to the NCI. The Iowa data represents rural and midwestern populations and provides information included in many NCI reports and publications.


EDITORS: Copies of Cancer in Iowa: 1998 are available. To request a copy, contact the State Health Registry at (319) 335-8609.