An Update on Cancer Cluster Activities at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
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An Update on Cancer Cluster Activities at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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  • Alternative Title:
    Environ Health Perspect
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    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) continues to be aware of the need for response to public concern as well as to state and local agency concern about cancer clusters. In 1990 the CDC published the "Guidelines for Investigating Clusters of Health Events," in which a four-stage process was presented. This document has provided a framework that most state health departments have adopted, with modifications pertaining to their specific situations, available resources, and philosophy concerning disease clusters. The purpose of this present article is not to revise the CDC guidelines; they retain their original usefulness and validity. However, in the past 15 years, multiple cluster studies as well as scientific and technologic developments have affected duster science and response (improvements in cancer registries, a federal initiative in environmental public health tracking, refinement of biomarker technology, cluster identification using geographic information systems software, and the emergence of the Internet). Thus, we offer an addendum for use with the original document. Currently, to address both the needs of state health departments as well as public concern, the CDC now a) provides a centralized, coordinated response system for cancer cluster inquiries, b) supports an electronic cancer cluster listserver, c) maintains an informative web page, and d) provides support to states, ranging from laboratory analysis to epidemiologic assistance and expertise. Response to cancer clusters is appropriate public health action, and the CDC will continue to provide assistance, facilitate communication among states, and foster the development of new approaches in duster science.
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