Williamtown Cancer Data 2005-2014

​The New South Wales Cancer Registry maintains records of people with cancer in NSW. Notification of new cancer cases and cancer deaths is required under the Public Health Act 2010.

Data are received from pathology laboratories, hospitals, radiotherapy and medical oncology departments, aged care facilities and the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages. It is NSW Health standard practice to review population age-standardised cancer data in response to initial concerns of a possible cancer cluster.

Enquiries about suspected cancer clusters occur each year, which is understandable as cancer occurs commonly, and has significant social and economic impacts on individuals, their families and the community. Concerns were raised by local Newcastle media and residents regarding a possible cancer cluster in Williamtown, linked to the contamination of ground and surface water from Per-and-Polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF). 

This data was presented to the NSW Health Chief Health Officer’s Environmental Health Expert Advisory Panel on 19 December 2017. The minutes, released on 16 February 2018, provide the Expert Advisory Panel’s conclusions following review of this data.