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By Christopher Tittel, Communication Director

December 03, 2020

Bradenton, Fla. – The Florida Department of Health in Manatee County (DOH-Manatee) has received the final report on the Bayshore High School cancer study that was launched in 2017.

Specifically, the Department launched the study to determine whether or not Bayshore High School buildings and grounds could have contributed to a possible cancer cluster over the last 30 years.

The study’s findings suggest no evidence of a “cancer cluster” associated with the high school.

In 2017, the Manatee Board of County Commissioners and the Manatee County School Board asked DOH-Manatee to lead the study.

DOH-Manatee then launched a campaign to collect patient information from those who worked at or attended the old Bayshore High School building.

The old Bayshore High School building was adjacent to where the current Bayshore High School is located at 5401 34th Street West in West Bradenton.

A total of 239 patient information forms were received from the public between Dec. 1, 2017, and March 30, 2018.

Forms were shared with State Health Office for review and reporting purposes.

“While no documented environmental exposure link could be found for the area of the old Bayshore High School,” the final report reads, “DOH proceeded to review data from the state cancer registry, the Florida Cancer Data System (FCDS), to address community concerns received by DOH in Manatee County.”

FCDS data from ZIP code 34210 --- the ZIP code which includes the old Bayshore High School -- was reviewed for three time periods -- 1986-1995, 1996-2005 and 2006-2015 – and for eight different types of cancer – brain and other nervous system, breast, colorectal, Hodgkin’s lymphoma, kidney and renal pelvis, leukemia, prostate and thyroid.

“Cancer data from the FCDS and population data from the United States (U.S.) Census were used to calculate a standardized incidence ratio (SIR) respectively for each cancer type, allowing comparisons between the number of observed cases versus the number of expected cases to determine if the occurrence of these cancer types are higher or lower than one would expect given the population size and demographics of the local area in question,” the final report reads.

For all three time periods studied, the final report suggests, the number of observed cases versus expected cases was significantly lower in many instances with regard to each type of cancer.

The Department offers the following: “A cancer cluster is defined as a greater-than-expected number of cancer cases that occurs within a group of people in a defined geographic area over a specified period of time, When people learn that several friends, family members or neighbors have found out they have cancer, cancer clusters are often suspected. Cancer clusters are also sometimes suspected when people who work at the same place or have other factors in common get cancer.”


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