Community Profile 2016: Correlations Between Breast Cancer Incidence, Mortality and Social Determinants of Health


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Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women worldwide and the second-most common cancer overall. In 2015, an estimated 231,840 cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in the U.S. alone. So no matter who you are or where you live, understanding breast cancer is important. But the most important thing to know is this: a diagnosis is not a death sentence. Breast cancer can be treated.

For several years, Susan G. Komen Iowa has used comparative data on breast cancer incidence, death, late-stage diagnosis and mammography rates along with demographic and socioeconomic indicators to identify trends and priorities to achieve certain quantifiable goals in reducing the burden of breast cancer throughout the 91 county service area. Over the next several years, Komen Iowa will focus on influencing the achievement of the following Healthy People 2020 (HP 2020) objectives for breast cancer death rates and late-stage diagnosis rates:

  1. Reduce the breast cancer death rate to 20.6 breast-cancer related deaths per 100,000 females
  2. Decrease the number of breast cancers diagnosed at a late-stage to 41.0 per 100,000.

To reach these goals and to track progress to date, credible sources and the most current data available have been used for a comparative data and trend analysis on the size and direction of incidence, death and late-stage diagnosis rates at the national, state, and county levels. This analysis defined the breast cancer burden in each county within Komen Iowa’s service area and allowed the Affiliate to make projections as to the likelihood for each county to achieve the HP 2020 objectives described above. In making these projections, the Affiliate found that the longer time period projected for each county to achieve either or both of the HP 2020 objectives defined the level of priority for intervention from Komen Iowa. The analysis indicated that twenty seven counties in Komen Iowa’s service area are not likely to meet the death and/or late-stage incidence rate targets defined by HP 2020.

Since this list of twenty seven counties represents almost 30 percent of the entire number of counties in a geographically dispersed service area, a regional grouping method was developed to help create a manageable set of targeted efforts. A commonly used practice in public safety and other state wide planning efforts is to use transportation routes as boundary lines to define geographically unique parts of the state and to divide Iowa into quadrants based on the two main Federal Highway Administration interstate highway routes (Interstate 35 running north to south and Interstate 80 running east to west).


  1. Raise awareness for breast cancer, its detection, its treatment, and the need for a reliable, permanent cure.
  2. Identify individual and community barriers to higher rates of breast cancer screening.
  3. Improve awareness of certain misconceptions about mammography and breast cancer to be able to offer appropriate interventions and provide information.
  4. Understand barriers to accessing breast cancer screening in a broader, stratified context.


Roger E. Dahl
Executive Director, Susan G. Komen, Iowa Affiliate

Jessica Nelsen
Mission Initiatives Manager, Susan G. Komen, Iowa Affiliate

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  • 0.75 CE Contact Hour(s)
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Available Credit

  • 0.75 CE Contact Hour(s)


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