investigated in Pierce and Ware counties
Preliminary results of an investigation by the Georgia
Department of Public Health (GDPH) concluded that there is
not an apparent connection between the cancers that have
been diagnosed in nine Pierce and Ware County children, from
The report showed that there were two cases in Ware County
and seven cases in Pierce. While the number of cases in Ware
County was well within the normal average for this time
period, the number of cases in Pierce County was above
average for the same time period.
The investigation started in February, after Public Health
received numerous reports from residents of a perceived
increase in cancer among children in Pierce and Ware
counties. Residents voiced concerns to the GDPH that
“something” must be causing the cancers in the children.
The investigation looked at cases reported to the agency as
well as cases GDPH officials discovered during the
investigation. The number of cases reviewed was nine. The
investigation showed that the cases varied in “types” of
cancers in both counties. That, along with varying known
risk factors, such as where the children lived and known
causes of those cancers, led GDPH investigators to conclude
the cancers were unlikely to be connected.
Two of the seven Pierce County children did live relatively
close together and had the same type of cancer. However, the
particular type of leukemia both were diagnosed with is the
most commonly diagnosed childhood cancer. The investigation
also showed that both children fell within the typical risk
group described for this type of cancer (white males under
the age of 3).
In the conclusion of its report, the GDPH and its Georgia
Comprehensive Cancer Registry recommend that the Pierce
County childhood cancer rates continue to be monitored to
see if the overall rates return to normal. GDPH officials
also encourage residents to educate themselves on the causes
of childhood cancers.
The complete summary of the GDPH’s Cancer Inquiry for Pierce
and Ware Counties can be found below.
Information for Public
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Southeast Health District
1101 Church Street
Waycross, GA 31501
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