Cuomo announces study of state cancer hotspots, including Erie County

Oct 26, 2017

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has laid out a plan to solve a grim mystery in New York State. Cuomo says scientists and health researchers will spend the next year trying to find out why cancer rates are so much higher in some areas.

For half a century, New York has collected data in what is called the cancer registry and, according to Cuomo, that information shows a clear pattern - higher cancer rates in some surprising areas.

According to Cuomo’s office, the part of the North Country around Glens Falls has the “highest rate of cancer in the state.” State officials will launch four regional studies, focused on Warren County and Erie County upstate and Staten Island and Long Island downstate. Cancer is now the second leading cause of death in New York and across the United States behind heart disease.

"Let’s study the health factors, the demographic factors, the environmental factors and find out why there’s that deviation," the Governor said. "If we can find out what’s causing it, we can go further down the road in preventing it."

Cuomo said cancer is devastating to those who face the disease and their families and he said this effort to understand these regional clusters could save lives.

"The Department of Health and DEC both - because there can be environmental factors at play here also - will participate in the study," Cuomo said. "It will take about one year and then it’s another step toward preventing it, resolving it and saving lives." 

Even among these four regional clusters, Warren County stands out. According to Cuomo’s office, the part of the North Country around Glens Falls has the “highest rate of cancer in the state.” Each year, nearly 110,000 New Yorkers learn they have cancer and around 35,000 die from the disease.

"More than one million New Yorkers are living with a current or former cancer diagnosis and millions more have lost a loved one to this devastating disease," said state Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker. "These are sobering facts. These actions will help communities across New York better understand cancer and connect residents with critical services that save lives."