Investigation of Cancer Incidence in Northport-East Northport School District, Suffolk County, New York 1999-2018

In 2019, DOH was asked to investigate whether there was an unusually high number of students in the class of 2016 at Northport HS who had leukemia and other cancers. We confirmed that the there were more cases of leukemia, a type of blood cancer, in this class. We were also aware of recent concerns about environmental conditions at the Northport Middle School, one of two middle schools in the district. As a result, we undertook a full investigation of cancer in the Northport-East Northport school district area. Our findings are summarized below:

  • We did not find higher rates of Leukemia in the Northport community as a whole.
  • We did not identify anything that might account for the leukemias in the class of 2016 on an individual basis, such as a strong risk factor, and the class members did not all go to the same middle school.
  • We found that for some other cancers, there were higher than expected numbers of cases, but for other cancers, there were fewer than expected cases.

Based on our investigation, we do not believe that there is cause for alarm. It is possible that the higher number of leukemia cases found in the Northport HS class of 2016 is due to chance. This investigation did not suggest any avenues for further investigation. We don’t believe that further investigation is warranted.

Based on our findings, we are not recommending that Northport residents take any special measures when it comes to preventing cancer. Residents should continue to follow advice about appropriate screenings, avoiding tobacco use, protecting themselves from the sun and other measures to reduce the risk of cancer.

DOH is going to arrange a town hall meeting to discuss our investigation and answer questions. Once the meeting time has been set, we will post the information here and spread the word in other ways.