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Tracking Cancer Cases is Vital to Public Health

October 5, 2003
The Tennessean

A recent national report card on cancer tracking gave Tennessee and two other states a D: The only F was given to Mississippi. That discouraging assessment would warrant the attention of Tennesseans at any time, but it is particularly frustrating because of contamination of well water in Dickson County. Dangerously high levels of trichloroethylene have been found in private wells near the Dickson County landfill. Families in that area who relied on well water for years are now reporting suspiciously high rates of cancer and birth defects. The disease-tracking report, conducted by Trust for America's Health, looked at the quality of information gathered by the state on cancer cases, its application to other data and the state's outreach to the public on the issue of cancer rates. The report notes that Tennessee has made strides in cancer tracking, but it faulted Tennessee for failing to combine its data on cancer cases with other information on lifestyle, cancer screening and the environment.

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