A cancer cluster is a higher than expected number of the same type of cancer in a specific area over a set time period for a similar group of people.
State and local health agencies can sometimes use state cancer registry information to look at the number of cancers in a community compared to the number in the state. Comparisons are made within groups of people of the same age, sex, and race because there are some known factors that influence the likelihood of getting cancer. A finding of more cancers than expected in an area does not mean there is a single cause or risk that can be identified or addressed. The findings can be due to chance, known risk factors, unknown causes, and other reasons. The cause of the possible cancer cluster may not be identified.
- Page last reviewed: February 2, 2017
- Page last updated: February 2, 2017
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