2002 CPEO Military List Archive

From: CPEO Moderator <cpeo@cpeo.org>
Date: 25 Nov 2002 15:38:38 -0000
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] Rarer form of childhood cancer pops up in Fallon leukemia cluster
Rarer form of childhood cancer pops up in Fallon leukemia cluster
Frank X. Mullen Jr.
11/24/2002 09:22 pm

An investigation into the Fallon leukemia cluster has uncovered cases of
an even rarer childhood cancer in Fallon and in three other small towns
with unexplained leukemia spikes.

Rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS), a rare childhood cancer that attacks muscle
tissue, has turned up in Fallon and in at least three other areas where
leukemia clusters have been documented, an Arizona researcher said.

Experts said it?s unknown if the unexpected appearance of the disease
has any bearing on the leukemia outbreaks. But some scientists said
finding two unexpected disease rates in the same small communities is
worth probing because it may lead to clues to the causes of both

?Rhabdomyosarcoma is 10-fold rarer than acute lymphocytic leukemia and
yet we see this correlation in at least four areas with ALL clusters,?
said Mark Witten, a toxicologist and pediatrics professor at the
University of Arizona in Tucson. ?Is it more than chance??

Witten, who has been investigating the Fallon and Sierra Vista, Ariz.,
cancer outbreaks independent of government health investigators, said
the discovery could be significant in helping to pin down similarities
in the clusters.

Since 1997, childhood leukemia has been diagnosed in 16 children with
ties to Fallon and three of those patients have died. The expected rate
of childhood leukemia in the Fallon area is about one case every five
years, doctors said, making Fallon the fastest-growing leukemia cluster
on record.

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