UPDATED BELOW The Minnesota Department of Health has re-computed the rate of cancer in Fridley for the years 2000–2009, and in a news release said the city's rate was 7.6 percent, not .
See also separate post with more new data released Monday: "Health Dept. Releases 1990s Fridley Cancer Data"
The adjustment came with a correction to statewide cancer rates, according to the news release. Higher overall state rates meant Fridley's figures weren't as far out of line.
The new rate puts Fridley's incidence of cancer in a range that's "not unusual," according to MDH cancer epidemiologist John Soler:
It’s not unusual to find communities that have a rate of cancer five to 10 percent above expected and as many that are five to 10 percent below expected, especially when one of the main cancer types is well above or below average rates, Soler said.
Fridley's cancer rate "appears to be due largely to its high lung cancer rate," according to Soler. Lung cancer rates for the period were 30 percent higher than expected, and for women, 49 percent higher.
“While we don’t have data to tell us exactly what is causing lung cancer in the community, we do know that the primary cause of lung cancer in the United States is smoking,” Soler said. “We also know that Anoka County’s smoking rate is relatively high.”
Update (3 p.m. Monday): Doug Schultz, an MDH information officer equated the March estimates with a “rough draft” and Soler said the “minor changes” to the revised estimates took into account more precise street addresses—some people included in the initial estimate were found not to actually live in Fridley—and results from 2009 that are still being tabulated.
“When this thing went viral, we basically said we need to update the database,” Soler said. “Even these numbers will probably change a little.”
But Soler said the changes to the data were statistically minimal.
“The observed change very little,” he said. “The expected went up slightly, based on [a more accurate accounting] of all the cancers in Minnesota.”
The earlier MDH data brought attention to the group on Facebook, and led to interest from , who plans to .
Read the full news release by clicking the PDF thumbnail image above.
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Number of Incidents of Cancer in Fridley between 2000 and 2009
(Expected figures are based on state-wide averages.)