South Carolina health officials said there does not appear to be an unusual number of cancer cases in Mount Pleasant.
The Post and Courier reports the state Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) reviewed cancer statistics near Mount Pleasant and found they do not support a cancer cluster.
DHEC said that a meaningful cancer cluster has to meet certain scientific criteria, such as a three-fold increase in the number of a particular kind of cancer.
According to the newspaper, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines a “cancer cluster” as “a greater-than-expected number of cancer cases that occurs within a group of people in a geographic area over a period of time.
DHEC’s spokesman Jeff Taillon told the paper that, while such diagnoses are devastating for patients and their families, the number of Mount Pleasant cases is not abnormal. DHEC said that childhood cancer statistics show 18 children in Charleston County were diagnosed with cancer in 2014, the most recent year data is available, compared with 15 diagnoses in 1996.
The number of childhood cancer cases reached a high point in Charleston County in 2004 at 23 cases. Statewide, 212 children were diagnosed with cancer in 2004. That is the highest number since 1996. The 2015 numbers will be released later this year.
DHEC said more than 28,000 individuals, adults and children in the state are diagnosed with cancer each year.