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State Survey Finds No Links Connecting String of Rare Cancer Cases on Seacoast

A new report from the state Department of Health and Human Services found no common links in a string of rare cancer cases on the Seacoast.

The findings are based on survey data collected by DHHS after a so-called cancer cluster was identified on the Seacoast last year. Two rare forms of pediatric cancers had been diagnosed in that area at significantly higher rates than normal.

The surveys were intended to identify any commonalities between the cases, like environmental exposures or medical histories.

But state epidemiologist Benjamin Chan says out of 40 questionnaires sent to families of cancer victims, the state received only 7 responses.

“So at this point we don’t see evidence within the survey to suggest the need for a case-control study for example, but we obviously we understand that our survey has certain limitations.”

The investigation into the cancer cluster isn’t over though. A new legislative commission will continue looking into whether water contaminants or other environmental sources may be to blame.

Jason Moon is a senior reporter and producer on the Document team. He has created longform narrative podcast series on topics ranging from unsolved murders, to presidential elections, to secret lists of police officers.
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