A record number of people have received treatment for cancer at Milwaukee’s Monroe County recreation center this week, and health officials said they’re not expecting a repeat of the devastating effects of the pandemic.
The Monroe County Health Department announced Thursday that more than a thousand people have been treated for colorectal cancer and that about 3,000 more have been diagnosed with other types of cancer.
More than 9,000 people have tested positive for cancer since the beginning of the year, the department said.
Monroe County officials say the numbers are similar to the numbers in other communities.
The number of cancer cases is up sharply, too, from 6,500 in March to 8,600 last week, the Monroe County health department said in a statement.
People who were diagnosed with cancer in March were most likely to be white, about half were between 50 and 64 years old, and about 40 percent had been treated with at least one form of chemotherapy.
“While the numbers of people being treated with cancer are higher than in other counties, we are not expecting the same repeat of that we experienced during the pandemics,” Monroe County Director of Health Mary O’Brien said in the statement.
O’Brien added that about 2,200 people have returned to the recreation center.
She said the numbers will continue to climb as people return to work and the center’s employees continue to receive treatment.
We are seeing a significant increase in people in our community who are coming back to the Monroe area and they’re seeing a greater response to their care,” O’Brien said.
Monroe County has more than 8,400 cancer cases, more than twice as many as the next-highest county, Dane County.
The county also has seen an increase in cancer patients and cancer-related deaths.
Oriental County has seen the highest rate of new cases, about 7,500.
Owings Mills is in the middle of the county and has a population of about 4,500, the health department reported.
The other counties with more cancer cases than Monroe County were Lake, Dane and Milwaukee.
The Monroe and Highland counties have had fewer cases than the others.
The city of Madison, the nation’s third-largest city, reported its first new cancer case this week.
The department said people with cancer who have been in the Monroe and other counties for at least a year and have not had chemotherapy are eligible for treatment.
People who have had chemotherapy for other diseases, including colorecctal, lung and liver cancers, are not eligible.
People can get tested for cancer by a doctor at any of the state’s five health departments, the Health Department said.