PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The Pennsylvania Department of Health says the results into their investigation into a potential cancer cluster in Washington County had “no conclusive findings.”
Ewing’s Sarcoma is a bone tumor considered a very rare childhood illness. For young adults to be diagnosed, it’s considered extremely rare.
Within the past 10 years, however, four people within the Canon-McMillan School District have been diagnosed. Mitch Barton, 21, is one of those four.
The state Health Department says after hearing from concerned community members about the rise in radiation-related cancers in the area, they launched an investigation.
They now say that investigation resulted in “no conclusive findings indicating that the incidence rates of Ewing’s family of tumors in Washington County and Canon-McMillan School District for female and male populations were consistently and statistically significantly higher than the rest of the state over the time periods reviewed.”
But health officials do say they are taking all concerns seriously, and plans to closely monitor the cancer incidents in the area and across the state.
The Health Department’s full statement reads:
“Based on the data we currently have, when compared to incidence rates for the rest of the Pennsylvania population, male and female incidence rates for the Ewing’s family of tumors and childhood cancers in Washington County and Canon-McMillan School District were not consistently and statistically significantly higher than expected in all three time periods analyzed.
“When compared to state incidence rates, rates for some types of other radiation-related cancer (such as breast cancer, colon cancer, gallbladder cancer, leukemia, lung cancer, liver cancer, myeloma, NHL, oral cancer, stomach cancer and ovary cancer) were somewhat higher than expected in Washington County or Canon-McMillan School District; however, these cancer incidence rates were not statistically significantly higher in both gender groups or consistently and significantly higher in all three time periods analyzed.
“Overall, there were no conclusive findings indicating that the incidence rates of Ewing’s family of tumors in Washington County and Canon-McMillan School District for female and male populations were consistently and statistically significantly higher than the rest of the state over the time periods reviewed. However, DOH takes seriously the concerns about EFOT and pediatric cancers raised by this community and other communities in the commonwealth. DOH will continue to closely monitor EFOT and pediatric cancer incidence in Pennsylvania over the next several years as new data becomes available in the PCR.”
Barton’s mother, Christine, says her son and another man from the community were not included in the report because they were diagnosed in 2018. She also says a third case wasn’t reported.
She believes the health department needs to further investigate not only Washington County but neighboring counties as well.