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Iowa Cancer Summit Address New Breast Screening Guidelines

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DES MOINES, Iowa -- It's estimated more than 6,400 Iowans will die from cancer this year alone.

Each year, the Iowa Cancer Summit brings together health care providers and patients to discuss better ways to diagnose, treat and prevent the disease.

On Friday, oncologists discussed the newly released American Cancer Society guidelines for breast cancer screenings. According to the ACS, women should begin their annual mammogram screenings at age 45 instead of 40.

"We need to constantly look at the evidence of what type of screening makes the most sense and which can give the greatest benefit to the most people," said Dr. Richard Demming.

Demming, the medical director at Mercy Cancer Center, said the guidelines are simply a suggestion. He advises women to talk with their care providers and based on their health history, determine when the best time to begin screening would be and how often.

According to the State Health Registry of Iowa, more than 2,200 women in Iowa will diagnosed with breast cancer this year and it will claim close to 400 patients' lives.

Those fighting the disease say it's important for women to educate themselves.

"The best thing you can do is surround yourself with people who know the facts. Once you`ve got the facts, you can make a better informed decision on which direction you choose to go," said Lou Ellen Brown.

Cancer along with heart disease are the leading causes of death in Iowa.