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University of Iowa News Release


March 14, 2008

State Health Registry issues 2008 cancer report

This year, an estimated 6,300 Iowans will die from cancer and 16,000 new cancers will be diagnosed, according to a report released today by the State Health Registry of Iowa, based in the Department of Epidemiology at the University of Iowa College of Public Health.

Compared to projections for 2007, estimated deaths in 2008 will decrease by 100, while estimated new cancer cases will increase by 300.

"With Iowa's aging population and slight overall population increase, we are estimating a small increase in the absolute number of new cancers compared to last year and a slight decrease in the number of cancer deaths," said Charles Lynch, M.D., Ph.D., UI professor of epidemiology and medical director of the registry.

"The development of new cancers is strongly influenced by genetic factors and environmental exposures. However, dying from cancer is strongly influenced not only by the number of new cancers, but also by the extent of the disease at the time of diagnosis and treatment effectiveness. Earlier cancer detection and better treatments are leading to reductions in overall cancer mortality," Lynch added.

The "Cancer in Iowa: 2008" report provides other statistics and focuses on non-Hodgkin lymphoma, which is expected to be the sixth most-common cancer in Iowa this year. The State Health Registry participates in research on this form of lymphoma and others, including collaborations involving the University of Iowa, Mayo Clinic and the National Cancer Institute (NCI) through a Specialized Center for Research Excellence (SPORE) in lymphoma, based at the UI.

The annual report is based on data from the Iowa Department of Public Health and the Iowa Cancer Registry, including county-by-county statistics. Links to the current and previous annual reports are available in the "Publications" section at the registry's Web site, People may also request a copy of the report by calling the registry at 319-335-8609.

The three most common types of estimated cancer deaths for women and men remain unchanged from previous years and account for nearly half of all cancer deaths. For women, leading cancer deaths will be lung (24 percent), breast (14 percent) and colorectum (11 percent). For men, leading cancer deaths will be lung (30 percent), prostate (11 percent) and colorectum (9 percent).

In 2008, the most common cases of newly diagnosed cancer in women will be breast (28 percent), lung (13 percent) and colorectum (12 percent). The most common types of new cancer cases in men will be prostate (25 percent), lung (14 percent) and colorectum (11 percent). These projections follow the trends of past years.

"Fortunately, Iowans can reduce their chances of being diagnosed with many types of cancer through smoking cessation, physical exercise, healthy eating and reducing alcohol use," Lynch said. "Early detection through screenings and appropriate self-exams also plays a positive role in reducing cancer mortality and, when pre-cancerous lesions are removed, reducing the number of new cancers as well."

More than 150 hospitals, clinics and medical laboratories across Iowa, as well as referral facilities in neighboring states, contribute data to the State Health Registry of Iowa. The registry is one of 17 registries nationwide that currently are funded to provide data to the National Cancer Institute. Iowa's registry staff includes 50 members, half of whom are located throughout the state and help collect data from many facilities. The registry has been gathering cancer incidence and follow-up data for the state since 1973.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Health Science Relations, 5137 Westlawn, Iowa City, Iowa 5224-1178

MEDIA CONTACT: Becky Soglin, 319 335-6660