Return to Toolbox Main.
State and local health departments can use these guidelines to develop a systematic approach to responding to community concerns regarding cancer clusters. The guidelines are intended to apply to situations in which a health department responds to an inquiry about a suspected cancer cluster in a residential or community setting only. Occupational or medical treatment-related clusters are not included in this report. S
These guidelines utilize a four-step approach (initial response, assessment, major feasibility study, and etiologic investigation) as a tool for managing a reported cluster. Even if a cancer cluster is identified, there is no guarantee that a common cause or an environmental contaminant will be implicated. Identification of a common cause or an implicated contaminant might be an expected outcome for the concerned community. Therefore, during all parts of an inquiry, responders should be transparent, communicate clearly, and explain their decisions to the community.