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Oak Ridge Reservation

Assessment of Cancer Incidence in Counties Adjacent to Oak Ridge Reservation

Map showing the 8 county area surrounding the Oak Ridge Reservation

Assessment of Cancer Incidence

Some area residents expressed concerns about a perceived increase in cancer in communities around the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Oak Ridge Reservation. To address these concerns, the Oak Ridge Reservation Health Effects Subcommittee requested that the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) conduct an assessment of cancer incidence [PDF, 623 KB] in these communities.

An assessment of cancer incidence evaluates the number of new cancer cases in a particular geographic area, such as a county, in a given time period. It provides information about the cancer rates in a community and is used to determine if any unusual pattern or higher frequency of a disease is occurring within the community relative to a reference population, usually the state.

ATSDR evaluated cancer incidence data over a 10-year period (1991–2000) for 42 different cancer types for each of the eight counties surrounding the Oak Ridge Reservation:

  • Anderson
  • Blount
  • Knox
  • Loudon
  • Meigs
  • Morgan
  • Rhea
  • Roane

The results indicated that there were both higher and lower rates of certain cancers in some of the counties examined when compared to Tennessee state cancer incidence rates, but no consistent pattern of cancer occurrence was identified.


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