Concerns about possible cancer cluster prompts investigation of Gold Coast private hospital
Published: Monday, 4-Aug-2008
A possible cancer cluster at a private hospital at Benowa on the Gold Coast is causing some concern.
According to the chief executive of Pindara Private Hospital, Richard Lizzio, some staff are concerned about the number of cancer cases among staff at the hospital over a 10-year period - thought to be 25 among a current staff of around 700.
Mr Lizzio says a detailed investigation by the independent environmental consulting firm Noel Arnold and Associates has been instigated and epidemiologists Dr. John Parks, Dr. Bruce Hocking and Professor Ian Gordon from Melbourne University will also conduct a statistical analysis.
Mr Lizzio says there has been no more than two occurrences of the same type of cancer, the largest group is breast cancer with eight people, but there were also cases of bowel and pancreatic cancer, leukaemia and melanoma.
The majority of the cases involve current staff members and in the last four years four people have died from four different forms of cancer, and all were women.
Mr Lizzio says most of the predominantly female staff were aged over 40 and around 2,000 people would have been employed at the hospital over the last ten years.
He says early results of the hospital's water, radiation levels and electromagnetic levels had shown the levels were within accepted standards.
Gay Hawksworth for the Queensland Nurses Union says they are pleased the hospital was taking the concerns seriously.