"Keep a positive attitude and a sense of humor," is the advice of cancer survivor, Janice Ledvina, of rural Elberon. Ledvina has faced a cancer diagnosis twice in her life bladder cancer in 2007 and kidney cancer in 2012. Her family helped her believe in recovery and she enjoys life cancer-free today. She looks forward to the annual Relay for Life of Tama County, to be held on Saturday, June 14, this year.
Ledvina's cancer journey began when she was in her late 40's. A CT scan found a mass in her bladder. She was sent to University Hospitals in Iowa City for treatment. After chemotherapy and surgery to remove the bladder, she had a full recovery for 4 years.
The American Cancer Society estimates nearly 75,000 new cases of bladder cancer will be diagnosed in the United States in 2014.The rates of new bladder cancers and of cancer deaths have been fairly stable in men and have been dropping slightly in women in recent years. More than 500,000 people in the United States are bladder cancer survivors.
The Caring Crusaders team model the scarves they sell to raise funds for the Relay for Life. Pictured are (L to R): Marsha Mason, Judy Williams, Doris Danker, Sandra Whannel, Pat Clark, Joyce Hite, Judy Robb, Luane Lorenzen.
Bladder cancer occurs mainly in older people. About 9 out of 10 people with this cancer are over the age of 55. The average age at the time of diagnosis is 73. Men are about 3 to 4 times more likely to get bladder cancer during their lifetime than women. Overall, the chance men will develop this cancer during their life is about 1 in 26. For women the chance is about 1 in 90. Bladder cancer is the fourth most common cancer in men.
Four years after recovering from bladder cancer, Janice Ledvina faced cancer for the second time. In 2012 cancer was discovered in Ledvina's left kidney. More testing followed and the good news came that this cancer was contained in the kidney. Removal of the left kidney removed all of the cancer, with no chemotherapy needed. Regular routine screening helps assure that Ledvina remains healthy.
The American Cancer Society estimates about 64,000 folks will face kidney cancer in the United States this year. Most people with kidney cancer are older. The average age of people when they are diagnosed is 64. Kidney cancer is very uncommon in people younger than age 45.
Kidney cancer is among the 10 most common cancers in both men and women. Overall, the lifetime risk for developing kidney cancer is about 1 in 63 (1.6%). Like bladder cancer, the risk for kidney cancer is higher in men than in women. For reasons that are not totally clear, the rate of new kidney cancers has been rising since the 1990s, although this seems to have leveled off in the past few years. Part of this rise was probably due to the use of newer imaging tests such as CT scans, which picked up some cancers that might never have been found otherwise. The death rates for these cancers have gone down slightly since the middle of the 1990s.
The American Cancer Society has been a leader in fighting both bladder and kidney cancer. The Relay for Life of Tama County is a fundraiser to support the American Cancer Society. The Relay will be held Saturday, June 14, from noon 10 p.m. at the South Tama H.S. track. Food, music, and fun will fill this special event to fight cancer. For more information contact Ashley Bolen, Tama/Toledo, 641-484-0204; Marilyn Svoboda, Clutier, 319-479-2732; Karen Symonds, Dysart, 319-476-7762; Luane Lorenzen, Traer, 319-231-0820.