American Cancer Society predicts about 6,500 Iowans will die from cancer in 2021
Delayed diagnoses from people who put off routine cancer screenings throughout the past year have the experts sounding the alarm on getting checked.
Recent data from the society says deaths from cancer are decreasing at record levels, but experts are anticipating a lack of access to cancer care during the pandemic could disrupt that decline.
“These effects will trickle in. They won’t happen immediately. So we’re expecting to experience a secondary impact of the pandemic over the next decade in terms of cancer rates,” said Rebecca Siegel, a cancer epidemiologist with the organization.
Kimberly Ivester, the director of UnityPoint Health – St. Luke’s Hospital Cancer Care and Nassif Community Cancer Center, hopes Iowa won’t see an increase following the pandemic.
“What we are seeing in the community is that our screening rates you know if you talk about Mammography are down a little bit this year, but not as much as we would have thought,” Ivester said.
She said less than 10% of their patients delayed screenings during the pandemic - a good sign when it comes to catching it early.
Jan Waters, 80, a lung cancer patient getting treatment at Hall-Perrine Cancer Center in Cedar Rapids, said she’s continued on with her routine appointments despite the pandemic and would encourage everyone to do the same.
“You know, we’ve learned a lot over the past couple of months and it’s absolutely safe to come into one of our centers and have a screening,” Ivester said.
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