The results of a recent state study indicate brain cancer rates are higher in six eastern Idaho counties.
The state is preparing additional study of cancer rates in the area to find out why.
“We know the rate is elevated, but we don’t know why,” said Christopher Johnson, a research analyst with the state Department of Health and Welfare.
The study found elevated cancer rates in the small Bingham County town of Moreland and in Bingham, Bonneville, Butte, Clark, Jefferson and Madison counties.
“Persons in the Moreland analysis area experienced significantly more cases of brain cancer than would be expected based upon Bingham County or state rates,” the report said.
Moreland’s rates for four other types of cancer were lower than the Bingham County or statewide rates.
The six-county area showed 110 cases of malignant brain cancers. Statistically, 89 cases would be expected.
State epidemiologist Dr. Jesse Greenblatt said the rates are alarming. In a small population, however, one or two cases can skew results, so the statistics are tested by dropping one case. In Moreland, dropping one case still left an elevated rate, Greenblatt said.
The cause of about 80 percent of brain cancers is unknown. Among the known causes for the remaining 20 percent are radiation, pesticides and other chemicals.
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