GLENS FALLS — Using New York Cancer Registry data, the state Department of Health in 2017 identified striking cancer rate disparities throughout the state, with Warren County ranking among New York’s highest.
And in October, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced at Glens Falls Hospital a new statewide initiative aimed at determining why there is a 20 percent difference in cancer rates between Warren County residents and New York City residents.
“Warren County has one of the highest rates of cancer in this state. New York City has some of the lowest rates of cancer in the state. Erie County, Buffalo, just under Warren County. ... Why? What is the difference? What’s going on in Warren County that’s different than what’s going on in Queens and Brooklyn?” Cuomo asked. “There has to be an answer.”
Cuomo said the state has budgeted $500,000 for the Department of Health and the state Department of Environmental Conservation to conduct a yearlong study in four regions: the Capital District, Glens Falls/Warren County, western New York, and New York City and Long Island.
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Over the next year, researchers will examine cancer trends and the potential causes of cancer in these regions.
According to Health Commissioner Howard Zucker, the DOH will review cancer data, potential demographic and occupational influences and will consult with the DEC on environmental concerns contributing to patterns of cancer incidences in the state.
This new data-driven effort will help identify the central causes leading to higher rates of cancer in certain regions and, ultimately, help develop the most effective programs to prevent and treat cancer, the governor said.
“For the first time ever, the state is going to undertake a study … in four clusters of the state. Because those are the places of the deviation,” Cuomo said. “The Department of Health and DEC both, because there could be environmental factors at play here also, will participate in this study. It will take about one year and the question is very simple: What is driving that deviation?”