New Statistical Methodology for Determining Cancer Clusters
University of Connecticut Health Center, School of Medicine
Dr. Martin Kulldorff, while at the National Cancer Institute (NCI), Bethesda, Md., and colleagues developed an innovative statistical technique that shows that women living in a broad stretch of the metropolitan northeastern United States, which includes Long Island, are slightly more likely to die from breast cancer than women in other parts of the Northeast. The 1997 study does not explain why these women are at higher risk of death, and the researchers note that the increase may be due to differences in well-established risk factors for breast cancer which they were unable to include in the analysis. The researchers found that the breast cancer mortality rate along a section of the East Coast stretching from New York City to Philadelphia was 7.4 percent higher than the rest of the Northeast. They urged caution in interpreting studies of geographic clusters in cancer mortality. The study is described further in an NCI backgrounder. Dr. Kulldorff is now at the University of Connecticut Health Center.