August 25, 2010 - In 2008 the Ohio Department of Health reported that Ottawa County had the highest incidence of cancer in the nation. Midway through 2010, cancer cases are popping up in the county, including Port Clinton (the only city in the county and is the county seat, population in July 2009: 6127, population change since 2000: -4.1%).
Residents have been trying to find out why cancer is striking so many county residents.
Port Clinton's rate of pancreatic cancer is 90 percent higher than what the Ohio Department of Health believes it should be for a city its size. And its rate of lung and bronchus cancers is 50 percent higher too, according to a new state report that was issued Monday, August 23rd.
But state health officials said that is more likely the result of excessive smoking, not exposure to industrial chemicals or environmental pollutants.
The state agency issued its findings after crunching data of 503 Port Clinton cancer cases diagnosed between 1996 and 2007, the most comprehensive and latest years on record. The study was done at the request of the Ottawa County Department of Health, following concerns by area residents who believed a cancer cluster with an environmental trigger existed.
A city of Port Clinton's size would be expected to have 11 pancreatic cancer and 61 lung/bronchus cases within the 11-year study period. Port Clinton had 21 pancreatic cancer cases and 91 lung/bronchus cases, Holly Sobotka, chief of the state health department's chronic disease and behavioral epidemiology section said.
References: Port Clinton, touched by cancer, Sharia Davis. FoxToledo.com, 7/21/2010.; Smoking blamed for cancers in Port Clinton Environment issues unlikely, state says by TOM HENRY BLADE STAFF WRITER, ToledoBlade.com, 8/24/2010.
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