NEW YORK (FOX5NY.COM) - An alarming new report claims parts of Long Island and Staten Island have elevated cancer rates. State health officials are planning a series of public hearings to address the issue. Fox 5 spoke to local leaders and residents.
Angelo, who didn't want to give his last name, had this reaction when we first told him about more cancer cases popping up on Long Island.
"You just made my day," he said.
He didn't really mean it because he has had cancer and knows a lot of people who have or have had it. And before we parted ways, he added this: "I wake up every day, I'm ahead of the game."
Cancer—the disease or the thought of it—is something many people on Staten Island are living with every day.
"I grew up down and my childhood bedroom faces the Staten Island landfill," City Councilman Joe Borelli said. "People in my neighborhood and people in neighborhoods that border Fresh Kills have gotten higher rates of cancer over the past 10 and 20 years."
The 22,000-acre Fresh Kills Landfill closed in 2001. But many people who live on Staten Island believe something at the landfill is causing cancer.
The state Health Department is concerned with the rise in cancer cases on Staten Island and on Long Island. Health officials will be holding public meetings to find out what is causing the uptick in the disease at both locations.
Another approach is being taken on Staten Island.
"The city has already funded a separate study of exclusively Fresh Kills," Borelli said. "That panel is convening on Monday."
Borelli will be part of that panel, which is closed to the public. it will consist of health policy experts, doctors, hospital management, and college professors.
Angelo told us it is too late now and that something should have been done years ago.
The public meetings to discuss the rise in cancer cases on Staten Island and Long Island will be held on July 17 at the Hilton Garden Inn in Stony Brook and CUNY's College of Staten Island.
DOH Public Meetings to Discuss Regional Cancer Studies, Tuesday, July 17, 7–9 p.m.
Hilton Garden Inn–Stony Brook
1 Circle Road
Stony Brook, NY 11794
"The Centereach, Farmingville, Selden study area was chosen because there were four different types of cancer that had elevated incidence: bladder cancer, lung cancer, leukemia and thyroid cancer." —NYSDOH
Staten Island (Richmond County)
CUNY College of Staten Island
2800 Victory Blvd.
Staten Island, NY 10314
"Staten Island was chosen because it had the highest incidence rate for all cancers combined among the five New York City boroughs. A major focus of this investigation will be on thyroid cancer, which was significantly elevated compared to the state as a whole." —NYSDOH