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The Office of Public Health Practice & Training

Cancer Cluster Investigations: A Case Study and Resources

The investigation of a potential cancer cluster can be a difficult, even traumatic experience for a community. The videos on this website document the challenges involved in an investigation and serve as a resource for others involved in potential cancer cluster investigations. The videos are divided into three sections:

Frederick, Maryland: A Case Study


Residents and public health professionals explain how concerns about cancer rates and buried chemicals led to a cluster investigation.

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Advice for Communities

Jen Hahn

These videos explain what a cancer cluster is, how they are investigated and what options concerned residents have.

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Advice for Public Health Professionals


Residents and public health professionals offer guidance about dealing with public and the media in a cancer cluster investigation.

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Read more about the JHSPH Frederick Oral History Project.

Read “It Would Break Your Heart.” This 2013 Johns Hopkins Public Health magazine article chronicles the Frederick investigation and includes the perspective of Frederick residents as well as public health professionals.

Additional Resources

More information: Brian W. Simpson,

Frederick Voices

People from Frederick, Md. and public health professionals talk about a possible cancer cluster and whether it can be linked to nearby Fort Detrick, where biological weapons were tested and chemicals remain buried.