2008.08.27 – Federal study key in convincing scientists of unusual prevelance of blood cancer cases

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Federal study key in convincing scientists of unusual prevelance of blood cancer cases

BY KENT JACKSON
STAFF WRITER
Published: Wednesday, August 27, 2008 4:14 AM EDT

A federal study helped convince scientists that a rare blood cancer is unusually prevalent in the tri-county area around Hazleton and gave them ideas for future research.

“The most important consensus is that there’s a problem. That by itself is a major change,” Dr. Paul Roda, a Hazleton oncologist, said Tuesday.

On Monday, the federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry issued a final report on a two-year study that the 33 confirmed cases of polycythemia vera are statistically significant.

The results were released at a public meeting on Monday night in Hazle Township.

Earlier Monday, Roda and other doctors and researchers joined a conference in Philadelphia in person and via telephone to discuss the study and the next steps.

At the conference, Roda said some researchers still doubted whether the study uncovered anything significant, but most called for follow-ups.

Roda said a future study might find out the source of the cases.

Patients don’t share jobs, ancestry, lifestyle choices, or exposures, the federal agency said in a news release.

Residents have pointed out that McAdoo Associates is close to the homes of some patients.

At McAdoo Associates, toxic material was recycled and dumped until 1979, and the site made the federal Superfund list of the most nation’s most toxic places. Power plants and coal mining are among the other factors mentioned as possible contributors to the cases.

kjackson@standardspeaker.com, 570-455-3636

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