herald

Tuesday 16 January 2018

Families call for action over 'cancer cluster' in city estate

POLITICIANS and residents are calling for action to investigate a suspected increase of cancer rates in Santry.

The calls follow concerns that a so-called 'cancer cluster' has developed around Oakpark Avenue, Oak Avenue and surrounding roads.

Previous cancer clusters around the country have been blamed on cigarettes, obesity and a poor diet but the residents in Santry are convinced this isn't the case in their area.



pylons

"The issue that bad diets are the cause of it all is ridiculous," said resident Marie Gaffney.

"There are people being diagnosed with cancer throughout Oakpark estate.

"One family had three cases of cancer. It's frightening."

Ms Gaffney said locals believe rising local cancer levels may be down to electricity pylons.

"There were pylons all around our estate but they've since been covered up," she said.

"We have reason to believe that this could be one of the causes for the cancer."

She added: "The HSE carried out a report and they didn't even report the correct amount of houses in the estate.

"There are 119 houses in the entire Oakpark area and over 20 people have been diagnosed with cancer in recent years. It is madness and very frightening."

Marie said locals are disappointed with the HSE's report because it has "too many inaccuracies".

Local TD Dessie Ellis recently submitted a Dail question to Health Minister James Reilly on the matter.

He said he wanted the minister to investigate cancer rates which locals believe have increased significantly.

Acting in response to a request from the minister, the National Cancer Registry of Ireland (NCRI) has analysed statistics for the general area around the Santry estates and found that while cancer incidence based on overall rates for Dublin was "somewhat higher than expected", the results were "not statistically significant".

"Looking at the estimated results for Oakpark Avenue specifically, female cancer incidence in the area was a little higher than expected, although again, the results are not statistically significant and in reality cancer rates for women in the area ranged from lower to higher than expected rates," a data analyst reported.



lobbying

"Results of males appear to show a lower than expected incidence for Oakpark Avenue."

According to the NCRI the impression of a cancer cluster usually begins when someone's spouse, neighbour, or friend is diagnosed with cancer.

They say this close contact often brings an awareness of other locals who have cancer.

The agency also points out that cancer is the second leading cause of death in Ireland and about three out of four families will eventually experience it in some form or other.

Ms Gaffney said the local residents' committee will continue to lobby the Government in an attempt to get answers surrounding rising cancer rates.

hnews@herald.ie

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