Environmental Epidemiology

Investigations into Unusual Patterns of Cancer

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines unusual patterns of cancer as “a greater than expected number of the same or etiologically related cancer cases that occurs within a group of people in a geographic area over a defined period of time.”

Most investigations into unusual patterns of cancer include an analysis of the occurrence of new cancer cases in a particular area over time and only answer the question, “Are there more cancer cases occurring in the area or population of concern than would be expected, based on the size and demographic characteristics of that population?” It is important to note that the data and statistical analysis conducted at this stage cannot determine the cause of cancers or if the cancers in specific communities are associated with any risk factors. For more information, please see the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) Protocol for Responding to Community Concerns for Unusual Patterns of Cancer and the CDC Guidelines for Examining Unusual Patterns of Cancer and Environmental Concerns.

Summary Reports