Home Resources Directory Sitemap
Massage Therapy Massage FAQ Massage Techniques Articles

Cancer Cluster and Health Hazards

In the movie "Erin Brochovich", Julie Roberts plays the leading lady who finger pointed at the industries for having illegally dumped hazardous waste, leading to a cancer cluster in the neighborhood. So, what is a cancer cluster? And how does it affect your health? A cancer cluster is the repeated occurrence of a particular type of cancer in a specific community or neighborhood. Because of its health hazards, a cancer cluster requires medical intervention and investigation to determine the causes of the outbreaks of cancer.

Cancer occurrence may be due to the pollution of the air, the underground water, the toxic waste dumps, and the power lines, among others. If repeated outbreaks have occurred in a specific neighborhood or at workplace, then there should be concern from the authorities about the formation of a cancer cluster. For example, in shipyards, due to the greater exposure to asbestos, shipbuilders are more prone to lung cancer; or in factories where there is greater exposure to vinyl chloride, workers have higher risk of liver cancer.

These work environments are grounds for cancer clusters. Although there have been many cancer cluster investigations, very few of them have produced tangible results, that is, a definitive connection of a cancer outbreak with a certain chemical or toxic material. In addition, given that cancer may take many years to develop in an individual, proving the cause and effect of cancer due to an external factor is extremely difficult, if not impossible. To illustrate, breast cancer has increased significantly in recent years. This drastic increase may be attributed to several factors. Nowadays, many women tend to bear children later in life because of their career, and this trend may affect their hormone balance.

Having children earlier may decrease breast cancer risk, while delaying childbirth may increase the risk. Other factors, such as obesity, diet and lifestyle, also play a critical role in the incidence of breast cancer. Therefore, to pin down the cause of breast cancer to a specific agent is almost impossible.

For this reason, common cancers, such as breast cancer, do not fall into a cancer cluster. Indeed, given that each type of cancer has its unique causes and risk factors, only the frequent causes of the same type of cancer, which does not occur frequently elsewhere, can be counted towards a cluster and compared against background rates. There are approximately over one million cases of cancer diagnosed each year in the United States.

So, to prove or to investigate into the possibility of a cancer cluster, there must be many cases of similar type of cancer outbreak in a specific geographic area. In addition, this type of cancer must be uncommon, or at least apparently less frequent elsewhere. Furthermore, there must be an evident source of environmental pollution as the cancer agent.

That said, it is still difficult to prove the formation of a cancer cluster, simply because of the power of the establishment to stop it, as portrayed in the movie "Erin Brochovich." The moral of the story is this: Be vigilant of the environment - the place you live in, the place your work at, and the chemicals or toxic substances you may be directly or indirectly exposed to. Prevention is better than cure. Beware of the health hazards, whether it is a cancer cluster or not is irrelevant.

Copyright (c) 2008 Stephen Lau.

Stephen Lau is a researcher and writer. He has published several books, including "No Miracle Cures" on natural healing; he has also created many websites on health, eating disorders, and mental depression. For more information on cancer cure, go to: http://www.nomiraclecures.com/cancer-treatments.html

Massage Therapy

What Causes Chronic And Acute Back Pains - Do you have those moments when you just want to lie down and be absent from work because your back is killing you? Well, if you are, then you are not alone.

Get Over It Exercising Hurts - Today should be the last day you try to use lame excuses to continue being fat, tired and a cardiac risk.

Fears Concerning Ectopic Pregnancy - Ectopic pregnancy is not a normal pregnancy.

Herbs For Anxiety Treatment An Effective Alternative - Herbs for anxiety treatment are now preferred by more and more anxiety and panic sufferers.

Cause of kidney stones - Is someone in your family suffering from kidney stones? Kidney stones is not something you can see, and you can??t see the pain it causes to your dear one either.