During a visit to Staten Island University Hospital on October 25, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced a New York State funded study to determine the causes of the high cancer rates on Staten Island. This comes after the NYS Department of Health study which showed the increased instances of cancer on Staten Island compared other boroughs.
The one year comprehensive study, conducted by the NYS Department of Health in conjunction with the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, will examine cancer trends and the potential causes of cancer in four regions across the state, including Richmond County, that have a higher incidence of certain cancers.
During his announcement, Governor Cuomo said “Why does Staten Island have a higher rate of cancer than other boroughs? We need to have those questions answered…the Department of Health, working with DEC, are going to study what health factors, demographic factors, environmental factors could be at play to suggest a reason for those differences (in cancer rates).”
According to the Governor’s press release, the study will review cancer data, potential demographic and occupational factors, and environmental factors contributing to patterns of cancer incidences in the western part of the state, in the Warren County area in the eastern part of the state, and in two regions downstate including Staten Island. In addition, the agencies will collaborate on further evaluation, mapping, and data mining and use the results of this initiative to enhance community screening and prevention efforts and support access to appropriate high-quality health care services in communities across the state identified as having high rates of cancer.
New York State Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker said, “More than one million New Yorkers are living with a current or former cancer diagnosis and millions more have lost a loved one to this devastating disease. These are sobering facts and exactly why Governor Cuomo is pursuing expansive actions to prevent, detect, and successfully treat cancer. These actions will help communities across New York better understand cancer and connect residents with critical services that save lives.”
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos said, “Protecting the health of New Yorkers is a top priority for the state, and through Governor Cuomo’s leadership, we are making strong investments in improving water and air quality and addressing sources of pollution in the state. By closely examining the environmental factors contributing to a higher incidence of cancer in specific regions across the state, we can better inform prevention efforts across New York. I applaud the Governor for his leadership on this critical issue and look forward to working with DOH and all stakeholders as we work quickly on this initiative.”
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