Why do more people seem to have cancer in parts of Western New York? NYS wants to know.

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) - People living in Western Cheektowaga and on Buffalo's East Side see higher rates of six different types of cancer, according to New York State. Now, the Department of Health is trying to figure out why that's the case.

NYSDOH is launching cancer studies for four different regions. Parts of Suffolk County, Staten Island and Glens Falls are also being studied.

Western Cheektowaga and the East Side of Buffalo see elevated incidence of colorectal, esophageal, kidney, lung, oral and prostate cancers. That's based on the New York State Cancer Registry, which collects reports on cancer diagnoses and other information from health care providers.

“We are fortunate in New York state to have one of the highest quality cancer registries in the country, and we have been collecting patient data for over 75 years," New York State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker said. "This well-established record, as well as local level data analysis to examine patterns and trends in these communities, will help to further inform our cancer control strategies and improve patient outcomes by promoting access to appropriate care.”

The studies hope to better understand contributing factors for higher rates of cancer in these particular communities. It will examine demographics and socioeconomic status of the area, behavioral and lifestyle factors like smoking and the occupational and industrial background.

DOH will also consult the Department of Environmental Conservation to examine possible environmental factors.

The state will host public meetings to discuss the studies. In Erie County, state health officials will meet Thursday, July 19 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Buffalo Museum of Science.

The Buffalo Museum of Science is located at 1020 Humboldt Parkway.

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