Breast cancer cluster prompts nationwide study of all ABC studios

The Cancer Council New South Wales (NSW) has announced that it is conducting a study of breast cancer cases at every Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) site in the country.

The study will focus only on cases of breast cancer in women and aims to establish whether the number of cases arising at ABC facilities is higher than the national average.

The research has been prompted by a six-fold increase of breast cancer at the ABC Toowong studios in Brisbane in 2007, which resulted in a move from the site even though investigators were unable to find the cause.

They however did suggest that in the event that there was some aspect of the working environment that contributed to the increased risk, it might also exist at other ABC sites.

The research will examine whether there are similar problems on a national scale and analyse the records of employees of the ABC between 1994 to 2007 and cross reference the results with government health records.

Dr. Andrew Penman, the chief executive for the NSW Cancer Council, says if there are elevated levels, more intensive investigations in broadcast environments will be called for and a cause found.

Any women who worked at any ABC site between January 1, 1994, and July 31, 2007, and have been diagnosed with breast cancer have been asked to contact the NSW Cancer Council.

The results are expected to be available in mid-2009.

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