September 17, 2008

Lew-Port School Board Told Cancer Study Results Inconclusive

By Paul Westmoore

A state study of cancer incidents released Tuesday for the towns of Lewiston and Porter, including the Lewiston-Porter School District campus, apparently turned up no conclusive results.

Keith Fox, a School Board member, told the board he briefly reviewed the 19-page report which covers studies of the Lake Ontario Ordnance Works, (LOOW), the Niagara Falls Storage Site, (NFSS), and the school campus, before last night's board meeting and found nothing ominous.

"Frankly, I don't think there's anything to be very concerned about," Fox said. He added the Health Department will be here soon to explain the report.

The public is invited to a meeting the department is holding on that study from 7 to 9 p.m. Sept. 29 in the Lewiston-Porter High School auditorium, where experts will answer questions about the cancer incidence investigation.

Interim Superintendent Don W. Rappold said at worst the report seemed to be "inconclusive."

There has been concern for years in the two towns about the affect radiation and chemicals from weapons development here during World War II might have on incidents of cancer among the local population.

A press release from the Health Department on Tuesday said, "The study evaluated cancer incidence among people of all ages in each study area who were diagnosed with cancer from 1991-2000" to see if the number of cases arising were higher than should be expected.

Summarizing the findings, state officials said researchers found no unusual cancer patterns in the LOOW and NFSS locations.

The only exception was a high number of prostrate cancers in the LOOW area and the area near the Lewiston-Porter campus. The study noted, however, "The high number of prostrate cancers in these areas may be related to medical care practices such as prostrate screening."

The study found statistically high numbers of several other cancers in the Lewiston-Porter campus area. That facet of the study was done because of concerns over children attending schools at Lew- Port. But those results also appeared to be inconclusive.

The study states, "The greater-than expected number of women with breast and bladder cancer [there] are not likely to be due to exposures received while the women were attending schools on campus because most of the cases were found in older women who went to school before the campus was built."

The report said there also was an excess in cancers in children ages 10-14 living in this area.

"These children could have attended schools on the Lewiston- Porter campus, although interviews showed that not all of them had," state health officials said.

The study also found "unusual numbers of testicular cancers in young men, and gonadal and germ cell tumors in children. However, health officials said, "Conclusions cannot be drawn about these high numbers and a relationship to exposures to any contaminants from the site because there is insufficient information about where these individuals went to school, or other possible risk factors they may have had."

Health officials added that more recent data showed that "After 2000, the unusual numbers of childhood cancers in general and gonadal and germ cell tumors in particular did not continue." They also said, "The possibility that the occurrence of the cancers was the result of chance can not be ruled out."

e-mail: [email protected]

Originally published by NEWS NIAGARA BUREAU.

(c) 2008 Buffalo News. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All rights Reserved.