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May 25, 2018  |  Login
Cancer Cluster
A cancer cluster is defined as a “greater than expected number of cancer cases that occurs within a group of people, in a geographic area, or over a period of time” by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. People become concerned that a cancer cluster may exist when several friends, family members, and neighbors are diagnosed with the same or related types of cancer. When a suspected cancer cluster is reported, epidemiologists (scientists who look at the frequency, causes, and control of diseases in a population) will investigate the claim. However, confirming the existence of a cancer cluster is not only time-consuming, but also expensive. Epidemiologists must prove that the findings are statistically significant and also rule out possible confounding variables, such as genetics or chance.

Certain factors are thought to be potential indicators of a cancer cluster, including: a large number of cases of one type of cancer, the prevalence of a rare type of cancer, or an increase in the number of cases of a certain type of cancer in an age group that is not usually affected by that particularly type. If you suspect a cancer cluster may exist in your area, contact your local or state health department at the CDC's website.

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