FIGHTING CANCER: Preparing For Summit

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An estimated 135,000 Iowans are living with a cancer diagnosis. Each year that number seems to rise, which is why the work done right here in the state is so important, particularly at the Iowa Cancer Summit.

“It’s an opportunity for a really big variety of partners to come together and talk about cancer control in Iowa,” Kelly Sittig with the Iowa Cancer Consortium said of the event.

Physicians, nurses, social workers and care providers from across the state turn out for the Iowa cancer summit each year.

It's an opportunity to not only talk about the work being done against cancer in the state, but to share the best practices, preventative care and treatment plans.

“It focuses around Iowa state cancer plan which is basically a road map helping our partners and anyone working in cancer control across the state know where to focus and where the most important priority areas are,” said Sittig.

80,000 Iowans were diagnosed with cancer between 2004 and 2008, and 30,000 lost their battle.

The summit is for anyone touched by cancer, survivors, and family members who lost a loved one.

“We see people who are affected by cancer first hand at the summit, and we also see people that are really inspired and energetic,” said Sittig.

“Every day there are new developments in cancer research and treatment and improving the quality of care, improving screening rates, so all of this should give Iowans hope on the future of cancer,” said Joan Felkner, who has been coming to this event since 2004.

Looking at that future is very important. In 2012, it’s estimated that more than 17,000 Iowans will be diagnosed with cancer. That means everyday approximately 47 Iowans will hear the words "you have cancer,” and around 6,000 Iowans could die of the disease, this year alone. That's around 18 deaths every day.

“It is scary to think about all that you can and should know about how to prevent cancer, but again the more we can bring people together and put our work together the more effective it will be,” said Sittig.