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Cancer In Iowa 2014 Report

CEDAR RAPIDS, IA (CBS 2/FOX 28)--The number of Iowans suffering from cancer this year did not increase from last year.

We learned that today when medical experts came together in Iowa City to give their annual report on cancer in Iowa.

They offered up some suggestions and steps to help battle the disease. Experts say there are three ways to fight cancer: prevent it, detect it early and treat it more effectively.

Today they focused on one specific form of cancer - which can be prevented through vaccination. "Anytime you hear the word cancer it's kind of a devastating thing. You just say I've got it now let's get rid of it, said Byron Walker an HPV cancer survivor.

Byron walker learned he had human papilloma virus-related cancer or HPV in his tonsil early last year. After months of working with doctors at the University of Iowa, he says he's slowly feeling better.

"Probably the worst thing is the dry mouth. You don't produce the saliva like you normally do, he said.

While a survivor, Walker is one of cancer's many victims. The new report estimates that more than 17,000 people will be diagnosed with different forms of the disease this year.

"There will be a total of 6,400 cancer deaths among Iowans. 3,000 will occur among females and 3,400 among males, said Charles Lynch, of the State Health Registry of Iowa.

Health experts chose to focus on HPV related cancers at a meeting Monday morning because they say it's one of the most common sexually transmitted infections worldwide, but there's a vaccine.

"And you'd like to have the vaccine on board to stimulate your immune system to develop antibodies against the virus, he said.

Charles lynch adds that HPV is not just related to cervical cancer, it can also be found in  the tongue and throat like walker's was. He says prevention is as simple as early vaccination.

In 2011 Annals of Internal Medicine, a medical journal said there wasn't enough evidence to show that the vaccine could prevent cervical cancer.

The CDC still recommends three doses of the HPV vaccine for boys and girls during ages 11 to 12.

Teens and young adults can also get vaccinated now but it's not yet approved for those over the age of 26.
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