Who do we believe?

Public Health studying brain cancer cases in Shannon, Que.

CBC  |  Posted: 05/17/2013 1:22 pm EDT


Quebec’s Public Health Agency is studying cases of brain cancer in Shannon, Que., after more than a decade of complaints from the community.

A doctor with the agency, Isabelle Goupil-Sormany, says the study will examine hundreds of residents’ medical files.

“We have to analyse and see if the fact that you spend some time in Shannon increases your risk,” says Goupil-Sormany.

If researchers discover a correlation between brain cancer rates and time spent living in Shannon, Que., Dr. Goupil-Sormany says the next step will be to find out why.

A retired doctor who worked in the municipality, Claude Juneau, says he has seen an abnormally high number of brain cancer cases in the area. He says contaminated ground water is to blame.

People living in the area have fought to prove that a chemical degreaser called TCE, dumped near the CFB Valcartier military base, had contaminated ground water and caused increase rates of cancer.

In June 2012, Superior Court Judge Bernard Godbout rejected a 3,000-person class action suit, ruling there is no link between contaminated water and cases of cancer in the community.

Godbout did acknowledge the government contaminated the water and awarded a maximum of $15,000 in compensation to about 300 people for inconveniences caused by disruption to water services. But he said the plaintiffs failed to prove a causal link between TCE detected in the town’s water supply and the number of cases of cancer reported in the community.

The Mayor of the Municipality, Clive Kiley, says he’s happy the public health agency will study cases of brain cancer among his residents. “There should be a study done. We’ve been saying this to the health department for years,” he says.


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