Mason County Ranks Number One in Washington for Cancer Incidence
Tuesday, 31 July 2012 09:40
I read a letter to the Mason County Commissioners over a month ago informing that Mason County has the highest cancer incidence in Washington according to the National Cancer Institute. I asked that Mason County consider hiring a full time compliance officer.
The National Cancer Institute's state cancer profiles were just redone, taking new information: Nov. 2011, and Jan. 2012. Mason County is still #1 in the State for cancer incidence, but we are now #1 for kidney cancer incidence, #2 for lung/bronchus, breast, and thyroid cancer incidence, #4 for pancreatic, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, bladder, and liver cancer incidence, #5 for ovarian cancer and leukemia incidence, and #7 for colon, melanoma, and stomach cancer incidence. These are devastating statistics! Life choices do cause cancer (smoking, poor eating, etc.), heredity may also be a factor, but environment factors, including water we drink and air we breathe, are cancer causing as well. Mason County has too huge a problem with cancer incidence to ignore the environment causes.
At last week’s Board of Health meeting, Dr. Yu concluded she does not think cancer incidence is a problem if there is less than 20 cases a year in Mason County. She believes that mortality numbers are the only significant numbers. According to the most recent information put out by the National Cancer Institute 7/14/2012, there are over 20 cases, of not only lung cancer, as Dr. Yu stated (66 cases) but we are now at 55 cases of breast cancer incidences, 20 cases of bladder cancer, 36 cases colon cancer, and 20 cases of melanoma cancer. Two other cancer types are nearing 20 incidences with 16 cases of kidney cancer and 18 cases of Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma.
Why does incidence rate matter to me and the public? If you’ve been diagnosed with cancer, you’d know. It is not about statistics….and you hope it is not about mortality rates. With your own personal incidence of cancer, you will face your own mortality issue. Your cancer issues will never go away…cancer is microscopic. I have been told by my cancer doctor that I will always have cancer. Does it matter to other survivors in Mason County there are not exactly 20 people or more to share this statistic with them to count statistically? Absolutely not!
The statistics show out of the whole state of Washington, we have the highest cancer incidence, and rank at or near the top on many types of cancers. Why are we getting so many cancer cases in Mason County, more than most other counties in the state? Shouldn’t we look further than the obvious, like smoking rates and heredity, to see if we’re getting harmful chemicals in our drinking water or air?
I have documented testing showing potential cancer-causing chemicals in ground water; i.e. your drinking water, while researching Mason County. Some tests exceed maximum contaminate limits, according to the Clean Water Act, without enforcement. Every time it rains, chemicals may be recharging the aquifer; possibly from three unlined landfills, or Goose Lake, a non-cleaned up Superfund site, located over a shallow aquifer. The Port has chromium and other industrial chemical issues, including several sites paved over with contaminated soils still in the ground underneath. Years of heavy military, and industrial usage of our lands, over the shallow aquifers are concerning since we have no compliance officer enforcement; no enforcement.
Please request our Board of Health do the right thing, and hire an environmental compliance office.
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