State’s Mapping Program New Weapon In Cancer Fight

Legislative column by Assemblyman Michael A. Montesano (R,I,C-Glen Head)
May 12, 2010

Last week, I attended a demonstration of New York’s latest weapons system. The event showcased an effective new tool against one of the planet’s deadliest threats. It looks as if this enemy is committed to a long war against us, but thanks to technological innovation and expanding research, it’s a fight we can ultimately win.

On May 10 I got a first look at the New York Cancer Incidence Map, the first of its kind in the state’s battle against leukemia, breast cancer, colon cancer, pancreatic cancer, ovarian cancer and other forms of the disease. The fully interactive online map is available to the public and will assist medical research teams in determining whether or not there are environmental, occupational or social factors influencing the rate of cancer. In addition, the Department of Health now will be able to track the occurrence of 23 kinds of cancer, making early detection of cancer clusters easier.

The NYS Cancer Incidence Map website is a joint initiative of the Department of Health and the Department of Environmental Conservation. It is designed to show the public a free record of specific counts of cancer in a geographical area as well as additional information about cancer causes at these sites. The combined information will not represent personal medical records of cancer sufferers; instead, the data comes directly out of the New York State Cancer Registry and does not jeopardize the confidentiality of individuals. The “Frequently Asked Questions” section is especially useful to those users interested in interpreting the map’s data effectively in the anti-cancer cause.

Cancer is a threat we can’t afford to ignore. Every year, at least 100,000 New Yorkers are diagnosed with some form of cancer. In this fight, early information is at least as effective as medical treatment in providing these patients with a better chance at survival. Public officials and medical professionals need smarter cooperation to learn where cancer clusters are forming and their possible causes. The state’s Cancer Incidence Map is a welcome step in the right direction for cancer scientists and public servants. To view the map and learn more about cancer data in your area please visit today. To win this fight, first arm your fellow New Yorkers with information.