One of the questions emerging from the GenX story we are covering relates to cancer rates in the region. GenX is the chemical compound first reported to be in the Cape Fear River and drinking water supply three weeks ago by the Star News. On Thursday we got an answer about cancer rates from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.
The DHHS reported that cancer rates in New Hanover County are generally similar to statewide rates of cancers. That result came after examining data from the North Carolina Central Cancer Registry.
New Hanover County Health Director Phillip Tarte.
“The initial information that we’ve received from our state public health partners shows that we’re not seeing any noticeable or statistically significant trends within the current cancer registry for our region compared to the state. But there is still more information to be gained through the state and federal investigations as it relates to GenX.”
“I know that they will continue to look at the cancer registry data, should something else appear. But at this time, based on the information they have for the past 20 years they are not showing any significant changes compared to state level data.”
DHHS looked at the incidence of five specific cancers in Bladen, Brunswick, New Hanover, and Pender Counties and compared them with statewide cancer rates from 1996 to 2015. The rates of pancreatic, liver, uterine, testicular and kidney cancers were chosen because they’ve been associated with GenX and other perfluorinated compounds in animal studies.