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Cancer cases fuels calls for inquiry

PUBLISHED: 22:01 25 February 2002 | UPDATED: 11:26 03 March 2010

VILLAGERS are calling for an investigation after the emergence of an apparent cluster of cancer victims in their community.

Philip Hanner, a parish councillor at Nedging Tye, near Needham Market, claims there has been up to 15 cases of cancer in the village in the last five years.

VILLAGERS are calling for an investigation after the emergence of an apparent cluster of cancer victims in their community.

Philip Hanner, a parish councillor at Nedging Tye, near Needham Market, claims there has been up to 15 cases of cancer in the village in the last five years.

"Whether it's just a case of bad luck for an older generation, or not, we don't know. But villagers are quite concerned. We don't want a panic, but people are pressing for an investigation,'' he said.

He hopes any study may identify whether people in the parish are at greater risk of getting the disease and resolve health fears over two towering hi-tech masts in the village.

But operators of the masts have denied there is any link to the cases and the communications equipment they have installed in the area, suggesting other factors could be responsible.

A spokeswoman for NTL, which has a 44-metre high mast used by a mobile telephone network and the emergency services in the village, said: "All our sites are very professionally managed and all come well within international radiation standards.

"A high cancer rate could relate to something like diet, or smoking. We do everything to make sure our sites are safe and secure."

Rupert Starling, a retired funeral director of Crowcroft Glebe, Nedging Tye, hopes if any study does go ahead it will help to put people's minds at rest.

"Three people in this road are on chemotherapy, all from the same close. A few years ago I was involved with a funeral of a 19-year-old with cancer from here," he said.

"I know there is no proof of a health hazard, but there is no proof that they are not either.''

South Suffolk MP, Tim Yeo, added that masts need to go somewhere but he thinks there should be a cautionary approach.

The Conservative said: "It's important not to be alarmist about health. But if there is a cluster of cases of a particular disease then I think it right they should be examined to see whether they are reasonable.

"But it's important not to be sensational, we do not want to upset people unnecessarily.''

The other mast in the village is run by Airwave mm02 Ltd, a former BT company.

Mark Ede, head of communications for the company, said: "There is a lot of confusion and misinformation going around which is causing concern.

"We try to site masts sensibly, even though experts say there is no risk to health.''

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