The Iowa Cancer Registry 

About the Iowa Cancer Registry: "The State Health Registry of Iowa (SHRI)/Iowa Cancer Registry (ICR) is a population-based cancer registry that has served the State of Iowa since 1973. The ICR has been a member of the National Cancer Institute’s Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Program since its inception in 1973.* 

The program was begun following the National Cancer Act of 1972 and was designed to represent geographic regions and subpopulations of the USA. Regions were selected on the basis of their ability to operate and maintain high-quality population-based cancer reporting systems. 

The SEER member programs have been added incrementally with other epidemiologically significant population subgroups of racial and ethnic minorities and the membership has expanded to the current 21 Cancer Registries covering approximately 48% of the US population. 

The goals of the ICR are to: 

  • Assemble and report measurements of cancer incidence, survival and mortality among Iowans; 
  • Support studies designed to identify factors relating to cancer etiology, prevention and control; 
  • Respond to data requests from organizations and individuals in the state of Iowa; 
  • Provide data and expertise for cancer research activities and educational opportunities. 

*This project has been funded in whole or in part with federal funds from the National Cancer Institute (NCI), National Institutes of Health (NIH), and Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), under Contract No. HHSN261201800012I, funds from the State of Iowa, and funds from the University of Iowa." 

What is causing high rates of cancer in Iowans?

In the 2023 Cancer in Iowa Report, data was presented revealing Iowa's position as the state with the second-highest rate of new cancers in the U.S. The report, compiled using information from the Iowa Cancer Registry and collaborative efforts with the Iowa Department of Health and Human Services, aimed to explore the factors contributing to Iowa's elevated cancer rates. This year's report focuses on a significant risk factor for cancer among Iowans: alcohol consumption.

The Report makes an interesting discovery

The report highlights that many individuals are unaware that any level of alcohol consumption heightens the risk of cancer development. Iowa, in comparison to other states, demonstrates higher rates of alcohol consumption, which correlates with its ranking as the 4th highest state for alcohol-related cancers in the U.S. and the highest in the Midwest. Through examining alcohol-related cancers and presenting data on alcohol consumption in Iowa, the report endeavors to raise awareness about the risks associated with alcohol consumption of any kind, emphasizing that reducing alcohol intake can decrease the incidence of alcohol-related cancers among Iowans. Produced by the Iowa Cancer Registry, the Cancer in Iowa Report compiles cancer data for all residents of Iowa. Cancer's adverse impact is evident nationwide, resulting in its classification as a reportable disease across all fifty states. The Iowa Cancer Registry, as designated by the Iowa Administrative Code, collects cancer data for Iowans to track trends and support initiatives aimed at reducing cancer diagnoses and fatalities. Addressing Iowa's cancer burden necessitates collaboration among various stakeholders, including healthcare providers, patients, researchers, public health officials, policymakers, and advocates.

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Where does the funding come from?

Funding for the Iowa Cancer Registry is provided by the National Cancer Institute through the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) program, in addition to contributions from the University of Iowa and the State of Iowa. Beyond covering operational expenses, the funding generated by the registry supports research studies utilizing Iowa Cancer Registry data, which have received funding from numerous federal agencies and foundations, including significant studies such as the Agricultural Health Study. Iowa's representation of rural and Midwestern populations renders its data integral to numerous national publications, estimates, and cancer impact projections. Confidentiality stands as a paramount concern for the Iowa Cancer Registry. The registry upholds policies governing research, reporting, and data release to ensure the confidentiality of patients, providers, and hospitals while facilitating essential research endeavors aimed at alleviating the cancer burden.

2024 Brings New Data

The 2024 Cancer in Iowa Report provides an overview of the state's cancer landscape, including an estimated 21,000 new cases of invasive cancer, 6,100 projected cancer-related deaths, and a growing population of cancer survivors, estimated at 168,610 individuals in Iowa. Additionally, the report contains a dedicated section exploring the link between alcohol consumption and specific cancer risks, along with information on binge drinking in Iowa and strategies for reducing alcohol consumption. Highlighted within the report are examples of research projects utilizing Iowa Cancer Registry data and a feature on Cancer Registrars, also known as Oncology Data Specialists, who play a pivotal role in collecting and safeguarding cancer data to ensure its accuracy and completeness.

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