Investigation launched into high number of cancer diagnoses in Gelderland village

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Health service GGD is expanding its environmental research into emissions by the Zutphen industrial area to include a cancer cluster investigation, GGD environmental health consultant Steven van der Lelie announced. The municipalities of Zutphen and Lochem asked for this additional investigation due to persistent unrest in Eefde-West over a remarkable number of cancer diagnoses, De Stentor reports.

For the cancer cluster study, the number of cancer diagnoses in the Gelderland village of Eefde will be compared with the number of diagnoses in similar residential areas, to determine whether the number of cases is much higher than normal. "If that is the case, then possibly an even deeper study will be started by specialists in the field of cancer research", Van der Lelie said, according to the newspaper. "But this option is still far away, because there are all kinds of medical-ethical snags in such a study."

On average one in three Dutch people get cancer at some point in their lives, but this can differ per area. The social-economic background of the residents, their average age, and the level of pollution, among other things, may all play a role in this. 

According to Van der Lelie, it has only happened once that a causal link was established between the occurrence of cancer and environmental factors. "But the unrest is so great that we believe a cancer cluster study is justified", he said.