Diseases: Cancer Clusters

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (2013) defines cancer clusters as a larger than anticipated amount of similar cancer cases arising at a given time among members of a defined community. Cancer clusters present many challenges due to the complexity of the analytic process and the abundance of inquiries and concerns. Because the research and studies of cancer clusters in the United States have uncovered few conclusive determinants, many states are hesitant in dedicating excess resources and money to the meticulous processes. Seeing the issue of discovering potential environmental hazards as a priority, Maryland is employing a specifically appointed workgroup to process all community concerns to enforce serious…show more content…
Without the knowledge of cases in specific areas, a potential cluster may be dismissed due to insufficient data. There should be further investigation in prevalent traits of the potential cluster to ensure safety (Penberthy et al., 2012).
Using the CDC’s guidelines, shaped by the National Center for Environmental Health (NCEH), as the basis for constructing legislation, each state has developed its own public health investigation response and analytic strategy regarding disease clustering (Kingsley et al., 2007). In Maryland, this was done through two legislative bills proposed to the Maryland General Assembly (GA) in the 2013 Regular Session, House Bill 1343 (HB1343) and Senate Bill 0380 (SB380).
HB1343 and SB380 will help distinguish cancer clusters around the state of Maryland, and determine potential environmental factors contributing to cancer within a specific community. Amendments found in the Third Reading of both bills mandate the inclusion of the following members within the workgroup: one member of Maryland’s Senate, one member of the House of Delegates, representatives of local medical schools, patient-advocates, scientists, environmentalists, and at least one representative of a Maryland manufacturing company. This systematic group is responsible for submitting reports of its analyses and discoveries to the Governor and GA by June 30 of 2014, at which time the Department of Health and Medical Hygiene (DHMH) will

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