CONTACT: BECKY SOGLIN
2130 Medical Laboratories
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 335-6660; fax (319) 335-9917
Iowa Cancer Registry estimates slight declines in cancer incidence,
deaths in 1999
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- While overall cancer deaths and new cases are estimated
to decline slightly this year in Iowa, lung cancer will remain the leading
cause of death for men and women. Breast cancer will be the most common
newly diagnosed cancer in women, and prostate cancer will be the most common
newly diagnosed cancer in men.
These are some of the assessments presented in Cancer in Iowa: 1999--the
annual report issued by the State Health Registry of Iowa, based at the
University of Iowa College of Medicine.
Cancer will claim the lives of an estimated 6,250 Iowans this year.
Another 13,800 people in the state will be newly diagnosed with some type
of the disease. These projections represent 100 fewer deaths and 200 fewer
new diagnoses compared to projections for 1998.
"Nationwide, we're seeing an overall decline in cancer mortality
for the first time since records were kept, and Iowa often mirrors what's
going on nationally," said Charles F. Lynch, M.D., Ph.D., UI professor
of preventive medicine and environmental health and medical director of
the Iowa Cancer Registry. "The numbers show we're starting to make
Iowa's overall decline in cancer cases and deaths reflects well with
objectives the state set in 1991 as part of Healthy Iowans 2000. The project
is the state's contribution to Healthy People 2000, the federal government's
national public health plan coordinated by the U.S. Department of Health
and Human Services. The project calls for each state to contribute initiatives
for improving the health of all Americans in two dozen areas such as physical
activity, tobacco use, cancer and immunizations.
Lynch said it appears Iowa will meet its year 2000 mortality objectives
for these cancers: female breast, invasive cervix, oral cavity and pharynx,
male lung cancer and female skin melanoma. It is less certain that the
state will reach its goal for decreased colorectal cancer deaths. In addition,
Iowa will likely not meet its goal of fewer lung cancer deaths in women
and melanoma deaths in men.
The report also describes progress toward the Healthy Iowans 2000 goals
for the early detection of female breast, colorectal, skin melanoma and
cervical cancers. Lynch said that of these four cancers, early detection
for breast cancer may be the only cancer for which the state may not reach
its year 2000 objective. "Our ability to set early detection goals
for specific cancers is made possible by having a statewide cancer surveillance
program," Lynch said. "This gives us access to important information
that many states do not have."
According to the registry's report, breast, lung and colorectal cancers
will make up more than half of all new cancer cases in women this year.
For men, more than 60 percent of new cancers in 1999 will involve the prostate,
lung or colon and rectum. The report estimates the number of cancer deaths
and new cases by county for this year. It also includes a section comparing
the estimated annual percent change in U.S. and Iowa rates of cancer cases
and deaths from 1990 to 1995.
Those data reveal that the reporting of new cases of prostate cancer
increased from 1990 to 1992, likely due to the greater use of prostate-specific
antigen screenings (PSA) that improved early detection. "New cases
of prostate cancer have since declined, likely because of a decline in
existing but previously undetected prostate cancer and because of more
judicious use of PSA testing," Lynch said.
The report concludes that the greatest decline in Iowa mortality from
1990 to 1995 was seen in female breast cancer.
Despite advances in cancer detection and treatment, cancer remains second
to heart disease as a cause of death in Iowa. Cancer occurs in people of
all ages, although more than 80 percent of all new cancers occur in those
55 and older.
"Cancer incidence in Iowa is down slightly, but shortly this decrease
may become more significant," Lynch said. "We're excited about
this progress and would like to see it continue."
George Weiner, M.D., director of the UI Cancer Center and UI associate
professor of internal medicine, said, "It's encouraging to see advances
in the war against cancer and to know that the work being done at the UI
Cancer Center and other cancer research institutions across the nation
is helping lead to better cancer detection and treatment for Iowans."
He added, "However, the fact that the most common cancer killer
in the state--lung cancer--is preventable shows we must continue to promote
cancer prevention and anti-smoking activities at all levels in Iowa."
Since 1973 the State Health Registry of Iowa has been recording data
on Iowans newly diagnosed with cancer as part of the National Cancer Institute's
Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results Program. Iowa is one of 10 registries
nationwide providing data to the National Cancer Institute. The cancer
mortality data presented in the report were obtained from death certificate
information provided by the Iowa Department of Public Health.
The State Health Registry is one of several teams that contributed to
Healthy Iowans 2000 and that are now contributing to the next related project,
Healthy Iowans 2010. With support from the National Library of Medicine,
researchers and administrators from the UI Hardin Library for the Health
Sciences and the College of Medicine are working with the Iowa Department
of Public Health to support the Healthy Iowans 2010 effort for health promotion
and disease prevention.
Ed Holtum, coordinator for electronic-based services at Hardin Library,
is one of the UI professionals helping ensure that Healthy Iowans 2010
team members can easily access and share information on cancer and the
other public health areas within the project. "We've developed a web
site, established a listserv and will provide other training and resources,"