The ABC breast cancer cluster: the bad news about a good outcome

Bernard W Stewart
Med J Aust 2010; 192 (11): 629-631.
Published online: 7 June 2010

New data bring to a close Australia’s most intensive cancer cluster investigation

Though only a small proportion of cancer clusters are reported in the peer-reviewed literature, a consistent picture emerges from those reports. The term “cancer cluster” refers to health authorities being alerted to a perceived increased incidence of cancer, involving 15 cases or fewer in the first instance, within a particular community or group. Aware of the anxiety generated by the prospect of a cancer cluster, cluster investigators focus on local circumstances that might account for increased risk, and if they fail to identify any such factors, the matter rests.1

  • Bernard W Stewart1,2

  • 1 Cancer Control Program, Public Health Unit, South Eastern Sydney and Illawarra Area Health Service, Sydney, NSW.
  • 2 Faculty of Medicine, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW.


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