Cancer protest photo

Scott Beveridge/Observer-Reporter

Sarah Martik of California Borough joined a group of protesters outside state Sen. Camera Bartolotta’s Washington office to object to her planned attendance at a closed-door meeting on cancer cases in the Canon-McMillan area last month.

The Southwest Pennsylvania Environmental Health Project is planning a community discussion in June to address childhood cancer in the region.

EHP plans to bring together residents and experts to talk about the number of cancer cases in the region, including multiple cases of Ewing sarcoma, a rare cancer, in the Canon-McMillan School District.

There have been at least six cases in Canon-Mac and the Canonsburg area since 2008.

Most recently, two men, Mitchell Barton of North Strabane Township and David Cobb of Cecil Township, are undergoing treatment for Ewing sarcoma.

The organization also plans to explore how being exposed to environmental pollution can contribute to cancers, and how people can protect themselves.

The date, time and location of the EHP meeting will be announced soon.

EHP said it was prompted to hold the meeting because the state Department of Health has not yet planned a meeting with the community to answer questions about an investigation it conducted about a possible cancer cluster in Washington County and Canon-McMillan.

The DOH concluded in April there is not a cancer cluster, and said there were no conclusive findings indicating that the incidence rates of Ewing’s family of tumors were consistently and statistically significantly higher than the rest over the state of the time periods reviewed.

The Department of Health’s analysis, however, included only three of the six cases.

DOH has asked the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to verify its report.

State Rep. Tim O’Neal, who held an invitation-only meeting in April to discuss the cancer cases, called on the Department of Health at that time to hold a public meeting to discuss its findings.

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