High Breast Cancer Rates On Manhattan's East Side & Rockland County

May 27, 2003
Press Release

NEW YORK: Today, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (NY) and leading medical professionals from New York University Medical Center announced the start of a $500,000 year long study to research the potential causes of high breast cancer rates on Manhattan's East Side and in Rockland County. Specifically, the study will investigate environmental factors that may be related to high breast cancer rates.

Congresswoman Maloney, who worked aggressively with Rockland County's former Congressman Ben Gilman to obtain the $500,000 federal allocation, said, "Women and families of the East Side deserve to know what's causing high rates of breast cancer in their neighborhoods. Instead of focusing resources only on treatment after breast cancer is found, we need to figure out why some neighborhoods have higher rates of cancer and then fight to stop it. I'm very pleased that NYU has the resources, the expertise, and the determination to conduct this important research for the benefit of women and families of New York. This study may not produce final answers in the quest to prevent breast cancer, but it is a critical component in a long term effort to limit risk factors for women everywhere."

Joining Congresswoman Maloney at the event were: Robert Glickman, M.D., Dean of the NYU School of Medicine & CEO of NYU Hospital Center; Annette Johnson, Vice Dean and Senior Counsel at NYU School of Medicine; Steven Burakoff, M.D., Director of NYU Cancer Institute and Skirball Institute of Biomolecular Medicine; Max Costa, Ph.D., Professor & Chair of the Department of Environmental Medicine at NYU School of Medicine; Judith Goldberg Sc.D. Professor & Director - Biostatistics at NYU School of Medicine; Silvia Formenti, M.D., Professor and Chair of the Radiation Oncology Department at NYU School of Medicine; Rosemary Mackey, Executive Director of the NYU Cancer Institute; Cindy Gehgan, Co-President of the Board of Directors, Greater NYC Affiliate of the Susan G. Komen Foundation; Nicole Rubin, Executive Director of the Greater NYC Affiliate of the Susan G. Komen Foundation; and Anna Kril, Executive Director of Sharing and Caring.

The New York State Department of Health, in April of 2000, released findings from its Cancer Surveillance Improvement Initiative. The report found that Manhattan's East Side and Rockland County have among the highest breast cancer incidence in the State. Specifically, the study shows that a majority of these two areas are characterized by "elevated incidence" and are 15-49% higher than the state average for breast cancer incidence. Zip codes 10128, 10028, and 10021 on Manhattan's East Side are categorized as "areas of elevated incidence not likely due to chance."

Rep. Maloney, working with Rep. Gilman, pushed for the $500,000 appropriation to study environmental factors and carcinogen levels near the high incidence areas in New York City, along the East River, and in Rockland County.

According to the American Cancer Society: Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women, other than skin cancer. It is the second leading cause of cancer death in women, after lung cancer. About 211,300 women in the United States will be found to have invasive breast cancer in 2003. About 39,800 women will die from the disease. Breast cancer death rates declined significantly from 1992 to 1996, with the largest decrease in younger women-- both white and black. This decline is probably the result of earlier detection and improved treatment.