Cancer cluster at Cheektowaga/Buffalo border linked to smoking, eating habits


BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — After months of study, a New York State Department of Health study has concluded that the reason that many resident have a high rate of some cancers near the Buffalo-Cheektowaga is not because of anything environmental, but instead due to smoking and eating habits.

“It’s not a big surprise. We have been working in these areas,” according to Dr. Elizabeth Bouchard at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center. Statistics have shown a higher numbers of colorectal, esophageal, kidney, lung, oral, and prostate cancers among the 43,000 residents who live in the study are bordered by the Kensington Expressway to the north, Walden Avenue to the south and the New York State Thruway to the east.

It may come as good news for some to hear that there were no unusual environmental exposures, and that the air toxins in that area were no worse than the statewide average.

“The report found increased prevalence of smoking, alcohol use and obesity,” said Dr. Bouchard. The study indicates that these neighborhoods have a higher rate of smokers, and people suffering the effects of unhealthy eating habits. Why that would be concentrated more in these neighborhoods is complicated. One factor may be that there is no supermarket in the entire stretch.

Most of those with cancer were over age 50, and many of those cases were discovered in later stages. “The report really does highlight the importance of early detection and having conversations with your healthcare provider about which screenings people should be engaging in, and also the importance of your annual physical,” said Dr. Bouchard.

The New York State department of Health is hosting a public meeting about the findings of this study on Tuesday, October 22 at 7 p.m. at the Buffalo Museum of Science.

“This is a great opportunity for us to come together from a research perspective, clinical and community leaders, to really think about at a community level, the kinds of strategies we want to really tackle to help improve people’s opportunities for healthier lifestyles,” said Dr. Bouchard.

Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center hosts several breast screening events including one on Tuesday October 22 from 8:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. at the Scott Bieler Clinical Science Center at Carlton St. and Michigan Avenue. Pre-registration is required.

For more information, call Jomary Colon at (716) 845-3908 also recommends these helpful links pertaining to healthier living: Services & Outreach Programs and

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