2008.10.06 – Specter here today to discuss cancer cluster

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Specter here today to discuss cancer cluster
U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter will meet with community members and officials who have dealt with the blood cancer cluster in Carbon, Luzerne and Schuylkill counties.

FROM STAFF REPORTS
Published: Monday, October 6, 2008 10:59 AM EDT

U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter will meet with community members and officials who have dealt with the blood cancer cluster in Carbon, Luzerne and Schuylkill counties.

The meeting will be held today at 4 p.m. at Best Western Genetti Inn and Suites, 1441 N. Church St., Hazle Township.

Specter will meet with people who have been involved with the higher than usual incidence of polycythemia vera in the tri-county area. Participants will include residents who have advocated for attention and study of the region’s health problems. Several community members who have the rare blood disorder, and their doctors, are expected to attend.

Officials from Pennsylvania Department of Health and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry will also be present.

In June, Specter announced the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee approved $262,000 for Drexel University School of Public Heath in Philadelphia to investigate the polycythemia vera cluster in Northeast Pennsylvania.

In August at a public meeting in Hazle Township, the the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry released the final results of a two-year study that confirmed 33 cases of polycythemia vera cancer diagnoses — a statistically significant number in a 15-mile “hot zone” surrounding Ben Titus Road between Tamaqua and McAdoo. The study also identified two smaller PV cancer cluster areas — one south of Frackville in Schuylkill County and one near Jim Thorpe in Carbon County.

Polycythemia vera is a rare bone marrow disorder that results in overproduction of red blood cells. Registries show PV affects one in 100,000 people.

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