Health officials to investigate cancer cases in Flower Mound

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by STEVE STOLER / WFAA-TV

wfaa.com

Posted on January 12, 2010 at 12:28 PM

Updated Tuesday, Jan 12 at 2:55 PM

FLOWER MOUND  - Families in Flower Mound are demanding answers as to why five children and two adults who live within four miles of each other all have leukemia.

Residents are concerned that there may be a cancer cluster within two zip codes. They are also questioning whether drilling is to blame.

The Texas Department of State Health Services is now looking into whether there actually is an unusually high number of childhood leukemia cases in Flower Mound. It will focus on two zip codes that cover most of the town.

Josh Morrissey's six-year-old daughter, Faith, was diagnosed with leukemia. After undergoing a year-and-a-half of treatment, Faith is now in remission.

After learning of several other nearby child leukemia cases, the Morrisseys addressed the Flower Mound Town Council.

"As a father of a child who has had leukemia, and I've seen the effects it can have on the family, It's not something I would wish on any family," Mr. Morrissey said.

Morrissey said no one is saying there is a direct link between drilling activity and the cancer cases. However, he said he would like some answers as to why there appears to be so many cases in such a small area.

In an effort to get those answers, parents contacted the Texas Health Department, which will begin their investigation in late January.

"There is something concerning when you see this many young children and now some adults that are getting leukemia," Mr. Morrissey said.

Other parents, like Sue Ann Lorig, said they are also worried and welcome the health department inquiry.

"I'm very glad they're coming," she said. "And that they're coming really raises my level of concern because it shows me that, yes, it's very serious."

State health officials said their first step is to determine if there is something statistically significant going on in the two zip codes. If a cancer cluster is found, it could launch more studies to determine the cause. However, according to the agency, very few cancer cluster investigations in the United States reach that stage.

E-mail sstoler@wfaa.com

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