The Northeast Regional Cancer Institute recently received a grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare to complete a community health survey in the Marcellus Shale region of Northeast Pennsylvania.
The survey, which will be conducted by Cancer Institute researchers, will document the current health status of residents of Bradford, Lackawanna, Luzerne, Lycoming, Pike, Sullivan, Susquehanna, Tioga, Wayne and Wyoming counties.
“Due to the potential for the release of toxic chemicals into the environment as a result of natural gas drilling in the Marcellus shale, it is important to document the current health status of the population in affected areas. These data can then be used as a reference point to facilitate investigations of changes in the health of the community, should any be reported in the future,” said Dr. Samuel Lesko, Director of Research/Medical Director at the Cancer Institute.
The specific goals of the survey will be to estimate the prevalence of a variety of acute and chronic medical conditions among residents living in counties where natural gas production has begun or is likely, as well as estimate the prevalence of known health risk factors in this population. At least 500 survey participants will be recruited in the coming weeks and asked to complete a mail or telephone survey providing demographic, health, and residential information.
“Research is unquestionably one of the most important pieces in the fight against all cancers and this grant shows the state’s faith in the quality of research being done here in Scranton,” said Pennsylvania Senator John Blake.
PHOTO CAPTION: Shown at the press conference announcing the Cancer Institute community health survey are (from left) PA Senator John Blake; Dr. Samuel Lesko, Medical Director/Director of Research at the Cancer Institute; and Bob Durkin, President at the Cancer Institute.