New England Bladder Cancer Study
Information for Journalists
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For over 50 years, mortality and incidence rates for bladder cancer are higher in New England than in most parts of the United States. This population-based, case-control study of bladder cancer in New Hampshire, Vermont, and Maine sought to explain the reasons for the persistent excess of rates of bladder cancer in the northern New England area.
Investigators collected data on 2,600 participants via personal interview, biological samples (blood, buccal cells, urine, toenails, and tumor tissue), as well as drinking water samples. They found that drinking water from private wells, particularly dug wells established during the first half of the 20th century, may have contributed to the elevated risk of bladder cancer that has been observed in Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont. Other risk factors for bladder cancer, such as smoking and occupational exposures, did not explain the excess risk in this region.
See NCI press release "Elevated bladder cancer risk in New England and arsenic in drinking water from private wells."
Baris, D. et al. Elevated bladder cancer in northern New England: The role of drinking water and arsenic. J. Natl Cancer Inst May 2, 2016.
Baris, D. et al. A case-control study of smoking and bladder cancer risk: Emergent patterns over time. J Natl Cancer Inst Nov 18, 2009.
Colt, J, et al. Occupation and bladder cancer in a population-based case-control study in Northern New England. Occup Environ Med April 2011.
Nuckols JR, et al. Estimating water supply arsenic levels in the New England Bladder Cancer Study. Environ Health Perspect Sept 2011.
Figueroa JD, et al. Modification of occupational exposures on bladder cancer risk by common genetic polymorphisms. J Natl Cancer Inst Sep 14, 2015.
Beane Freeman LE, et al. Bladder Cancer and water disinfection by-product exposures through multiple routes: A population-based case-control study (New England, USA). Environ Health Perspect 2017.
Koutros S, et al. RE: Elevated bladder cancer in northern New England: The role of drinking water and arsenic. J Natl Cancer Inst ePub March 2018.
Koutros S, et al. Potential effect modifiers of the arsenic-bladder cancer risk relationship. Int J Cancer July 2018.