South Dakota has one of the lowest rates of women dying from the cancer.


SIOUX FALLS, S.D. - The numbers are in and at first glance they look concerning for South Dakota however that is not the case. Quite the opposite in fact.

South Dakota is sitting well above the national average when it comes to the amount of women in the state who are diagnosed with breast cancer. In fact, it has the highest rate in the nation a recent poll from the Center for Disease Control.

The CDC released their latest numbers, which are from 2012.

141 women per one hundred thousand were diagnosed in the state.

State health officials can't pin point a cause, but a local breast surgeon has a theory that could quiet some people's worries.

Andrea Sprik is a Pink Lady who has changed her battle with breast cancer into something positive.

“My faith, my friends and my families I say were my rock through it all. I couldn't have done it without them,” Sprik said.

She was diagnosed in 2010 and has been cancer free for quite some time. Sprik is not alone in her fight.

In fact, recent numbers released from the CDC show that South Dakota has the most women in the country being diagnosed.

“Well, my first reaction was I got to take a look at this because I was first thinking wow,” Dr. Juliann Reiland admitted.

The Avera breast surgeon says at first those numbers can sound alarming. But another chart released by the organization shows that South Dakota has one of the lowest rates of women dying from the cancer.

“We know that women who have breast cancer in the early stages, when it’s caught early, their survival is much better,” Reiland explained.

Reiland says more South Dakotans are having regular mammograms.

That’s why the number of patients diagnosed is high.

“We are seeing more breast cancers because we're finding them better, we’re finding them when they're at an earlier stage. We have much more success in treating them and having them survive,” Reiland said.

Sprik was 32 when she was diagnosed.

She recommends women talk to their doctor if they notice anything that seems concerning.

“I had a mammogram right away and biopsies and stuff and just one thing lead to another and everything moved pretty quickly. So, I'm glad that I went in right away and got treatment right away,” Sprik said.

Reiland says women have a twelve percent chance of developing breast cancer.

She says a healthy diet and regular exercise can help reduce the likelihood of getting breast cancer, especially for women with increased chances of having the disease.

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