Marin Cancer Project Volunteers Canvass County Seeking Answers on Elevated Breast Cancer Rate
The Marin Cancer Project on Saturday sent 2,000 volunteers door-to-door in Marin County to search for reasons behind the county's elevated breast cancer rate, the AP/Nando Times reports. The volunteers asked residents a series of questions, such as age, family cancer history and whether they could identify any environmental factors that might be contributing to the county's high breast cancer rate. Project founder Judi Shils said that volunteers spoke with approximately 50,000 people and asked residents to donate at least $1 to fund an epidemiology map of cancer incidences based on statistics gathered by the Berkeley-based Northern California Cancer Center (Watercutter, AP/Nando Times, 11/10). Shils called the project a grass-roots effort of "unprecedented scope," the Santa Rosa Press Democrat reports (Kovner, Santa Rosa Press Democrat, 11/10). "My hope now is that everybody realizes that as a community we can change our statistics," she said (AP/Nando Times, 11/10). According to the Northern California Cancer Center, white women in Marin County have a 45% higher risk of breast cancer than do women in other areas nationwide. More than 220 per 100,000 women in Marin county develop breast cancer, a rate "sharply higher" than the national average of 140 cases per 100,000 women. A study the center released in July found that the rate of breast cancer in Marin County increased 37% from 1990 to 1999 but did not increase in other parts of California. Researchers attribute Marin County's higher breast cancer rate in part to socioeconomic factors there, such as wealth. Affluent women often have fewer children, have children later in life, use fertility drugs to conceive and take hormone replacements at the onset of menopause -- factors that "may trigger cancer" (California Healthline, 10/15).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.