Doctor Oz discussed Cancer Clusters and how to find and report them. Recently, a new cancer cluster has been found in West Palm Beach, Florida in a place called The Acreage. In 1994 a child got brain cancer there and between 2005 and 2008, eight children got brain cancer. One child who got brain cancer was a little boy named Garrett. Garrett’s mother, Jennifer, wrote to the Florida Department of Health and she began to track cancer and brain cancer in West Palm Beach with other families in the area.
Tracy, the mother of another 16 year old girl who got brain cancer (Jennifer), also live near Garrett. Tim Malloy, a reporter for WPTV radio station, reported cancer clusters in West Palm Beach and got hundreds of calls from families who had cases of cancer. In early February 2010, the state of Florida declared The Acreage a cancer cluster. Only 1 in 5 locations that are raised as potential cancer clusters are ever named a true Cancer Cluster, and finding the source or cause is even more rare.
Jennifer said that several neighborhood friends no longer want anything to do with her because she raised this awareness and has potentially lowered the property values in the area. Particularly adults without kids in the community are upset, because the cancer incidents mainly seem to impact children. But I do believe that Jennifer did the morally right thing. What do you think? Comment below!
The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) Criteria for Cancer Clusters:
1. Greater than expected number of cancer cases.
2. Specific type of cancer.
3. Specific group of people.
4. Specific geography.
Richard Clapp, a cancer cluster investigator, said that once you have found a cancer cluster, you can look for possible causes by taking water samples, soil samples and air samples. Dr. Oz also said that 65% of the cancers caused by cancer clusters you can screen yourself for, like breast cancer. Here you can see if there is a Cancer Cluster where you live and here you can report if you think your area is a cancer cluster.