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Cancer Rates Steady in 2019 with One Exception

University of Iowa College of Public Health
This map shows the estimated number (18,100) of new cancer diagnoses for 2019 in Iowa by county.

This program origionally aired 3-4-19.

The Iowa Cancer Registry's 2019 report shows new cases of most types of cancer are holding steady. Investigator Mary Charlton says the exception is cancers caused by the human papillomavirus or HPV.

Credit University of Iowa College of Public Health

“The report shows clearly that they’re all increasing at a fairly rapid rate, with the exception of cervical cancer. That’s only one that’s declining. And that’s because there’s a PAP test available. That’s a test that females can have that will detect the cancer cells, or the pre-cancerous cells before they turn into cancer and can be removed. There is no test for the other HPV-related cancers," says Charlton.

Charlton, assistant professor of epidemiology at the University of Iowa College of Public Health, says HPV-related throat cancers are increasing dramatically among men.

A vaccine is available for both girls and boys that prevents 90 percent of HPV-related cancers. The Centers for Disease Control recommends all 11 to 12-year-olds receive the vaccine. But Charlton says Iowa's HPV 

Credit University of Iowa College of Public Health

vaccination rate is 38 percent. 

On this edition of River to River, host Ben Kieffer talks with Charlton, as well as Dr. George Weiner, director of Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Iowa, president of the Board of Directors for the Iowa Cancer Consortium, and President of the Association of American Cancer Institutes. Dr. Nathan Boonstra, pediatrician at Blank Children’s Hospital in Des Moines, and Heather Meador, clinical branch supervisor at Linn County Public Health, also join the conversation to talk about efforts to increase HPV vaccination rates. 

Credit Mitchell Overton / University of Iowa College of Public Health
Ben Kieffer discusses the findings in the "Cancer in Iowa 2019" report with Mary Charlton, Dr. Nathan Boonstra, Heather Meador and Dr. George Weiner.

Katherine Perkins is IPR's Program Director for News and Talk
Ben Kieffer is the host of IPR's River to River