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Black Iowans Are Disproportionately Impacted By Cancer, New Study Shows

Breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer among all women in Iowa, while prostate cancer leads among men.
Angiola Harry

Iowa’s Black population has the highest mortality rate in almost every major cause of death, including cancer, when compared to other racial and ethnic groups.

Cancer is also striking Black Iowans at a younger age, with Black Iowans experiencing the highest cancer incidence rate of all racial and ethnic groups between 50 and 79 years old.

Concerns over racial and ethnic disparities in cancer are the focus of the2021 Cancer in Iowa report, issued by the Iowa Cancer Registry earlier this week. On this episode of River to River, host Ben Kieffer talks with experts about these newly reported findings. Advocates Cathy Ketton and ShanQuiesha Robinson also join the program to discuss efforts to support women of color experiencing breast cancer in the Cedar Valley through their organization, Splash of Color Breast Cancer Support Group.


  • Mary Charlton, professor of epidemiology at the University of Iowa College of Public Health and director of the Iowa Cancer Registry
  • Dr. Vincent Reid, surgical oncologist, Mercy Medical Center in Cedar Rapids
  • Cathy Ketton, cofounder of Splash of Color Breast Cancer Support Group
  • ShanQuiesha Robinson, cancer survivor and cofounder of Splash of Color Breast Cancer Support Group
  • Dr. George Weiner, director of the Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Iowa and president of the Iowa Cancer Consortium
Ben Kieffer is the host of IPR's River to River
Katelyn Harrop is a producer for IPR's River to River and Talk of Iowa
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