New York State Department of Health Announces Series of Public Meetings to Discuss Regional Cancer Studies

Targeted regions for study were identified based on data from the New York State Cancer Registry and are part of Governor Cuomo's Cancer Research Initiative to promote prevention and treatment

ALBANY, N.Y. (October 15, 2019) - The New York State Department of Health today announced that it will hold a series of public meetings in October and November to share the results of investigations of elevated cancer incidence in four regions selected for further study - the Centereach, Farmingdale and Selden area of Suffolk County; Staten Island (Richmond County); Warren County; and the East Buffalo/Western Cheektowaga area of Erie County.

The goals of the studies were to further understand factors contributing to higher rates of cancer in certain regions of the state and to better inform cancer prevention and screening efforts and promote access to high-quality care. Examining potential trends in these regions aids the Department in determining which cancer prevention interventions to promote and which diagnostic and treatment services would be most beneficial when connecting patients with resources.

"Cancer is, unfortunately, one of the most common diseases with one in two men and one in three women diagnosed with some type ofcancer in their lifetime," said Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker. "It was important for the Department to study areas with elevated rates of cancer to assess possible factors that may be contributing to cause higher rates of certain cancers. Moving forward, these data will help inform interventions aimed at cancer prevention and screening statewide."

Meetings with New York State Department of Health (Department) officials to discuss findings and answer questions will be held at the following locations within the communities that were designated for study:

East Buffalo/Western Cheektowaga (Erie County)

Tuesday, October 22
7 PM to 9 PM
Buffalo Museum of Science
1020 Humboldt Pkwy, Buffalo, NY 14211

Department researchers investigated this area of Erie County because of elevated numbers of colorectal, kidney, prostate, oral, esophageal and lung cancers. Higher burden of tobacco use in the East Buffalo/Western CheektowagaStudy Area, compared to other areas of the state, was a likely contributor to elevated cancer in this area. Additionally, other risk behaviors, such as obesity, lack of physical activity and alcohol consumption, which were also more common in the area, may also have contributed. Click here for more detailed information about this study,

Staten Island (Richmond County)

Tuesday, October 29
7 PM to 9 PM
Williamson Theater
CUNY College of Staten Island
2800 Victory Blvd, Staten Island, NY 10314

Staten Island was chosen initially because it had the highest incidence rate for all cancers combined among the five New York City boroughs. When cancer types were evaluated separately, thyroid cancer was the only cancer that stood out as unusually high compared to the other four boroughs of New York City as well as other more comparable areas of New York State. Screening for thyroid cancer, which is currently not recommended in symptom-free adults, was concluded to be a significant contributor to elevated incidence rates. Click here for more detailed information about this study.

Warren County

Thursday, November 7
7 PM to 9 PM
Adirondack Hall, Northwest Bay Conference Center
SUNY Adirondack Community College
640 Bay Road, Queensbury, NY 12804

Department researchers investigated Warren County because the county had the highest rate of all cancers combined in New York State based on 2011-2015 data. The study was narrowed to examine incidences of nine types of cancer: oral, colorectal, laryngeal, lung, brain and other nervous system, thyroid, esophageal, melanoma of the skin and leukemia. Current and former tobacco use, obesity, alcohol consumption and HPV infection were found to be likely contributing factors. Click here for more detailed information about this study.

Centereach, Farmingville, Selden (Suffolk County)

Tuesday, November 12
7 PM to 9 PM
SAC Sidney Gelber Auditorium, Student Activities Center
SUNY Stony Brook
100 Nicolls Road, Stony Brook NY 11794

Department researchers investigated this area of Long Island due to elevated numbers of lung, bladder and thyroid cancers and leukemia. Current and former tobacco use, prevalence of obesity and increased screening utilization were cited as factors likely contributing to the elevated rates of cancer in this community. Click here for more detailed information about this study.

All cases of cancer diagnosed or treated in New York are reported by law by their health care provider to the New York State Cancer Registry. New York's Cancer Registry was established in 1940 as one of the first cancer registries in the country and has since earned many accolades, including being designated by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) as a Registry of Excellence, and receiving Gold Certification by the North American Association of Central Cancer Registries for its completeness and accuracy. The regional cancer studies were based on data reported to the Cancer Registry and augmented with data from other sources.

Demographics and socioeconomic status of an area, behavioral and lifestyle factors such as smoking, and the occupational and industrial history of each area were considered. The Department also consulted with the Department of Environmental Conservation to evaluate sources of data on environmental factors and did not identify any unusual environmental exposures in any of the areas of study.

People interested in learning more about these studies and cancer prevention, screening and treatment should plan on attending one of the meetings in their area.