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Childhood Cancer Cluster Ruled Out

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9:25am 3rd July 2012
(Updated 9:25am 3rd July 2012)

An inquiry in Helston rules out claims of a cancer cluster in children.

It is after seven youngsters died of bone and brain cancer.

Health bosses say there is no evidence rates in the town are higher than normal.

There have been worries dating back more than ten years that more and more people were being diagnosed with the disease. The worries particularly centred on children and young people.

Now NHS researchers have revealed 551 new cases, which they say is inside the expected range of 469-558.

Director of Public Health for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly Felicity Owen said: "We empathise with the families affected by cancer and fully understand how small communities can quickly become very concerned, particularly when they hear of cancer cases among young people. The natural instinct is to ask if anything could have been done to prevent it and to ask if the cases may somehow be linked.

"The updated figures show that the number of cases in Helston continues to be within the expected range, so we do not have any concerns that we are seeing anything unusual occurring in the area.

“We also have to remember that there are many different causes of cancer. By far the biggest cause is smoking and we have teams of people locally ready to support anyone who wants to give up.

“The Helston community have particularly singled out bone and brain cancers. The numbers of these types of cancer in Helston are within the expected range so there is no indication that people in the Heston area are at increased risk.“

This was supported by the South West Public Health Observatory. "We have conducted a careful review of the cancer statistics for the Helston community and are satisfied that there is no cause for concern," said Dr Julia Verne, Director of SWPHO.

Officials reckon one in three of us will end up with it at some point in our lives.

9:25am 3rd July 2012

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