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Letter: Cancer cluster on N.H. seacoast can’t be denied


Wednesday, October 04, 2017

How disappointing to hear Steve Kenda tell WMUR, “I just question in my mind whether we actually have a cluster, because I think the use of the word ‘cluster’ is inflammatory and, I think, detrimental to the community.”

I am dumbfounded that Kenda, who does not believe there’s a cancer cluster in the New Hampshire Seacoast, was appointed to the N.H. Pediatric Cancer Cluster Commission by Gov. Chris Sununu when more involved, engaged, and informed candidates were overlooked.

Euphemisms will not prevent cancer from killing children. Doublespeak will not bring my daughter, Lydia Valdez, who died from Rhabdomyosarcoma and is a part of this cancer cluster, back to life. There is no “safe space” here, like on college campuses, where we can hide from words we don’t like. A cancer cluster was declared in the state using scientific methods.

Mr. Kenda, denial of the problem will not do this commission any good. If you are so ignorant as to believe that this is not a cancer cluster, resign from the commission and let someone more knowledgeable and invested in actually finding a cause for this cluster, like Lindsey Carmichael, or Jillian Lane, take your place.

Gov. Sununu, this commission should consist of well-informed, invested people focused on finding answers as to why this cluster exists. The commission needs to search for causes of this cancer cluster, not ways to deny that there is a cancer cluster.

Paula Skelley

Portsmouth