Cancer Cluster Research In Fallon

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Fallon and it's unexplained childhood cancer cluster will come under scientific scrutiny again.

A new research effort was outlined this morning at a symposium at the university of Nevada.

Monday was not a day for answers however.

The point of the gathering today was to outline for officials and the public alike, the aim and scope of a renewed effort to find those answers.

Seventeen children who lived at least for a time in Fallon have contracted the disease since 1997.

Three have died.

But cancer clusters have almost always defied efforts to pinpoint a cause and Fallon has been no different.

The Centers for Disease Control conducted a study of the soil, water, environment in the Fallon area and in affected families homes.

Three years of study added a lot of data, but reached no conclusion.

Senator Harry Reid obtained a federal grant for the University of Nevada to administer another round of research to build on that data and that's what was being outlined today.

It was open to the public, though our cameras and any other recording devices were banned.

That restriction was imposed because what was being said had not undergone any peer review.

Many also feel media coverage in the past has done little, but distort science and unrealistically raise expectations.

Searching for a cause of the cancer cluster is still a daunting task.

And since the cluster seems to be over or at least waning researchers may be looking for a combination of factors that might have caused the disease and one or more of those factors may no longer be present.

In any case, Fallon already one of the most environmentally scrutinized communities in the nation is due for another round of research into it's soil, water, industries, weather, even radio waves from its Naval Air Station and Coast Guard communications installation.

It is everyone admits a difficult task, but a spokesman for some of the families today said he was encouraged that sound science was again being brought to bear in the search for an answer.

An answer he hopes will not only establish a reason for his son's
illness, but add to the science that may one day prevent another cluster elsewhere.