State to examine high cancer rates in Erie County

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) - It's been a little more than a year since Susan Morreale lost her sister Cindy to cancer. “She battled for six years in total.”

Susan and her daughter, Ciara opened "Her Sanctuary" on Hertel Avenue after Cindy’s death. It promotes women's health and wellness.

Susan's cancer concerns don't end there. She--herself--is a breast cancer survivor, and she often wonders why. After all she's healthy and didn't have any family history of cancer. 

Erie County has the second highest cancer rates in the state. “Why is Erie Co, Buffalo, number two? Why are they higher than NYC as a whole,” Governor Andrew Cuomo asked. “We need to have those questions answered,” he added.

That’s why Erie County is one of four areas across the state that will be the focus of a cancer study. 

It's something our I-Team considered in Amherst last May. At that time, the state said it wasn't going to investigate a suspected cancer cluster there.

State health reps now say they'll exam demographics and environmental factors to pinpoint possible cancer clusters. 

The study is being applauded by oncologists and cancer survivors alike. 

“I think it's really forward thinking. There's nothing that jumps out as to why we have high cancer rates, so we have to look at our many many causes,” said Roswell Park Oncologist, Dr. Mary Reid.
“They should be looking at some other factors that might play a role in causing cancer,” added Morreale. 

The study will cost $500,000, and take about a year. 

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