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Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
IOWA CITY — University of Iowa Health Care has opened a new hub for breast care within its cancer center.
The new center opened Monday as a dedicated space to provide breast health services, ranging from cancer screenings to diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer.
UIHC has had a nationally certified breast center since 2010, but patients obtained these services across several locations within the health care system.
A space next to the existing breast imaging center was remodeled to pull the services into one space, said Dr. Sonia Sugg, medical director of the Breast Health Center.
“The breast center really allows us to become more patient-focused, patient-friendly and patient-centered,” Sugg said.
The breast center opened this week within the UI Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center, which is the state’s only cancer center with a top-tier designation by the National Cancer Institute.
By localizing services for individuals with breast disease, the goal is to simplify patients’ care journey, Sugg said. Patients now can see providers — including breast surgeons, oncologists, radiologists and genetic counselors, among others — in one space.
Cancer care is already a multidisciplinary approach, but Sugg said the new center facilitates more in-person contact between providers as they discuss patient cases and come up with the best treatment plan for individuals.
The latest Cancer in Iowa report shows breast cancer is expected to account for the most common cancer diagnosis in 2022, making up 14.1 percent of the projected 20,000 Iowans who will be diagnosed with cancer this year,
The report estimated 6,300 Iowans will die as a result of cancer in 2022, with lung cancer making up a quarter of those deaths. Breast cancer is expected to make up about 6.4 percent of the estimated cancer deaths this year.
The new estimates come as health care officials are renewing efforts to encourage people to come back into doctor’s offices for screening and care. It’s estimated 41 percent of U.S. adults delayed or avoided medical care — including routine cancer screenings — between March and June 2020, when the pandemic first unfolded nationwide.
UIHC did see a decrease in breast cancer screenings during the early days of the pandemic, but those rates have since returned to pre-pandemic levels, Sugg said.
It’s unclear what impact the reduction in screenings will have in the long-term, but Sugg and other providers anticipate it could lead to detection of cancer at a later stage for some individuals.
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