- Associated Press - Thursday, November 5, 2015

NEW CASTLE, Ind. (AP) - Indiana’s state health department says its investigation has found no evidence of a brain cancer cluster in Henry County.

Some residents suspected a cluster after 26 Henry County residents were diagnosed with glioblastoma over 14 years ending in 2013. State Health Commissioner Jerome Adams said at a public meeting on Wednesday night that the expected number of cases for a county that size in those years would actually be slightly higher at 30 cases.

“While it is painful for any individual suffering from cancer, Henry County actually has a below-average and one of the lowest rates of glioblastoma in the state of Indiana,” Adams said.

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention define cancer clusters as a larger than expected number of people in one location diagnosed with the same type of cancer over a specific time period.

“Because cancer is common, cases might appear to occur with alarming frequency within a community even when the number of cases is within the expected rate for the population,” the CDC says.

Adams also addressed concerns Wednesday about several cases of glioblastoma being diagnosed within a one-mile radius over the previous 23 months. He said state health officials determined those cases happened by chance, after an investigation that included consulting with experts at the federal level and Indiana University School of Medicine.

“It is extremely unlikely that we will find any common cause for these cases, and if we did, it would actually be the first time in history among tens of thousands of cases of glioblastoma that have been investigated in this country that we did find a common cause,” Adams said.

The state’s investigation also included interviews with family of Henry County residents diagnosed with glioblastoma, as well as local groundwater data, according to Adams.

Anyone who knows of more cases of glioblastoma in Henry County should contact the state health department, Adams said.

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