Why "cancer clusters" are so hard to confirm


2 Responses to “Why "cancer clusters" are so hard to confirm”

  1. mmechanic says:

    Yeah, it’s amazing how difficult it is to prove these things, and that’s a problem, since the burden of proof is always on the people trying to eliminate the awful chemicals, not the companies that manufacture and use them. Florence Williams wrote a nice piece for Mother Jones about another such situation, at Camp Lejune in NC, where unbelievable contamination appears to be causing a rare cluster of men with breast cancer. The scientists are still trying to sort it out. Great story, which Maggie took note of when it first went online: http://mojo.ly/L2WCu3

    • dnebdal says:

      True, and I’m not sure if it makes it better or worse that one of the main difficulties is that quite often, there really isn’t an underlying cause for a disease cluster.

      When there is a suspicion of contamination, it might be better to attack it by looking for (causes of) unacceptable pollutant levels in groundwater and such, not cancer/disease clusters: Absolute measurements like chemical concentrations are far less likely to be by chance, and it’s also easier to geographically nail where the problem is…

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