Dear Ms. Miller,
Thank you for contacting us about your concern of brain cancer at Palo Verde High School in Tucson. You were concerned that cell phone towers at Palo Verde High School in Tucson may be causing brain cancer, specifically glioblastoma, in students at the high school. The Arizona Cancer Registry (ACR) agreed to review brain cancer case counts and age adjusted rates in the cases in the Tucson East Community area (Tucson East PCA) that includes Palo Verde High School. The PCA area is the smallest geographic area we are able to analyze. A total of 92,847 people reside in this PCA.
The ACR reviewed the case count and age adjusted rate of brain cancer cases diagnosed in the Tucson East PCA for five years (2013-2017). The data showed:
· In the Tucson East PCA, there were 28 cases of brain cancer among persons of all ages. The PCA’s age adjusted rate was 4.5 cases per 100,000 persons.
· The Tucson East PCA rate is lower than the Arizona rate of 5.7 cases per 100,000 persons.
· The Tucson East PCA rate is lower than the U.S. rate of 6.1 cases per 100,000 persons.
· A review of the case count of persons ages 10 through 19 years for the Tucson East PCA found no cases of brain cancer.
· A review of the brain cancer case count of persons ages 10 through 19 years in Pima County was conducted to include all students in this age category in Pima county. Our review found 7 reported cases of invasive brain cancer in this age group diagnosed in the years 2013 through 2017.
Although you knew of a high school student that died of brain cancer, brain cancer is very rare among Pima County youth averaging slightly over 1 case per year.
In summary, the brain cancer rate in the community around Palo Verde high school is lower than the Arizona and U.S. age adjusted brain cancer rate and is not higher than what would be expected to occur. I hope this analysis of brain cancer in the area around Palo Verde high school answers questions you may have about brain cancer in the Tucson area.
Cancer – A malignant tumor that has invaded the basement membrane of the tissue of origin.
Age Adjusted Rate – Age adjustment is a process used to compare incidence rates over time, among different geographic areas or populations that have different age distributions. Because most disease rates increase with increasing age, age-adjustment eliminates the confounding effect of age when comparing rates.
ICD-0-3 Brain Codes used: C710 – C719
Boundaries of Tucson East PCA:
North Boundary: Speedway Blvd
South Boundary: Irvington Rd
West Boundary: Wilmot Rd
North East Boundary: Harrison Rd (from Speedway Blvd to Golf Links Rd)
South East Boundary: Houghton Rd (from Golf Links to Irvington Rd
Chris Newton, MPA
Arizona Cancer Registry
150 N 18th Ave ste 550
Phoenix, Az 85007-3248
(602) 542-7328 Ph
(602) 542-7362 Fax