CANCER STUDY: Iowa Breast Cancer Deaths Down

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A new University of Iowa health study predicts 17,000 Iowans will be diagnosed with cancer this year.

However, only 6,400 Iowans will die from it.

The study breaks down the cancer rate for both men and women in Iowa, showing one cancer that’s mortality rate is dropping.

Dr. Richard Deming has been treating women diagnosed with breast cancer for years and says the disease is no longer viewed as a death sentence, thanks to early detection.

“We`ve now come to the point where 70 percent of breast cancers today are diagnosed at early stage and that`s the really good news and that`s incredible and that`s powerful,” says Dr. Deming, Medical Director for Mercy’s Cancer Center.

Theresa Britt knows all too well the struggles women go through after being diagnosed, she's been a radiation therapist for nearly 27 years. However,

back in 2010, she went from provider  to patient.

“It was really hard, it was difficult to tell my family, it was really difficult to talk to my kids about it, my daughter said oh mom you treat these patients you shouldn`t have to get it but it doesn`t discriminate,” says Theresa Britt.

Theresa was diagnosed with cancer in both breasts, but it was found early and advancements in technology allowed her to have a better chance of beating it.

“The side effects are managed much better  then when I first started doing this, the skin reactions the nausea the vomiting that goes along with chemo, I wouldn`t wish it upon anybody but I’m sure glad I got it now rather than  20 years ago,” says Britt.

The study shows the number of Iowa women who have died from breast cancer has dropped 40 percent since its peak in 1992.

It credits that to education, women not using hormone replacement therapy after menopause and more women getting mammograms.

“Early stage breast cancers are the easiest to treat and the easiest to cure and that`s where we`ve seen the most development,” says Dr. Deming.

For Theresa it was a positive outcome, after a double mastectomy and reconstruction, she is cancer free and looking at life through a different lenses.

“It`s a second lease on life, it makes you appreciate things,” says Britt.

Dr. Deming says maintain a healthy body weight, exercising, avoiding hormone replacement and undergoing regular mammography’s are all ways to improve your chances of being diagnosed with breast cancer.

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