Iowa cancer report expects increase in cancer diagnoses

Published: Mar. 7, 2022 at 5:34 PM CST
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(WOWT) - Healthcare workers are asking Iowa residents to get screened for cancer after screenings were canceled during the peak of the pandemic.

The 2022 Cancer in Iowa report was released Monday. It revealed that during the pandemic, many Iowans increased alcohol consumption, cut back on exercise, and maintained a poor diet, all of which could contribute to cancer.

On top of this, 41% of U.S. adults delayed or canceled medical care when the COVID-19 pandemic began, particularly between March and June 2020.

The report can be read here: https://shri.public-health.uiowa.edu/wp-content/uploads/2022/03/cancer-in-iowa-2022.pdf

The annual report is issued by the Iowa State Health Registry. Their goal this year is to spread the word on the importance of screenings.

According to the registry, the cancelation of screenings in 2020 and the increase of cancer-contributing activities may lead to an increase in cancer diagnoses. They’re expecting 20,000 new cancer diagnoses in Iowa this year, roughly 1,000 more than in 2021. They’re expecting 6,300 deaths from all types of cancer.

Dr. Richard Deming with Mercy One Cancer Center in Des Moines said the HPV vaccine can prevent five types of cancer and encourages Iowa residents to get it if they haven’t already. But he’s concerned with the current attitude surrounding vaccines.

“Vaccinations were not politicized,” Dr. Deming said. “People were going in for the most part, children were getting the vaccines at the appropriate time. I am concerned that all of the political discussion around the COVID vaccine is going to spill over to other vaccines.”

Lindsay Schmauss of Waukee spoke on her cancer experience when the report was released. She said she did what she had always been told to do and got her first mammogram just after she turned 40 years old last summer. She had no symptoms and was feeling healthy — which caused great surprise when she was diagnosed with breast cancer the next day.

She moved quickly to get treatment, and in the coming days, she will have her final surgery.

Schmauss shared a recent conversation she had with one of her doctors:

“I was thanking her and telling her, ‘Thank you for saving my life. Your hand inside of my body during that surgery, removing cancer. You literally saved my life. Your hand inside of me taking that cancer out — you saved my life, and thank you for that. Thank you for saving my life.’ She looked right at me, and replied to me and she said, ‘No, Lindsay. You saved your own life.’”

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