Albion Elementary told it doesn’t have high rate of breast cancer for staff

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 3 December 2018 at 10:16 pm

ALBION — School officials wondered if there was a higher-than-normal rate of breast cancer among staff at the elementary school after several teachers have fought the disease in recent years.

Albion asked WorkFit Medical for its assessment. WorkFit provides medical services to the school district and other districts and businesses in Western New York.

In a Nov. 27 letter to Michael Bonnewell, the Albion school superintendent, WorkFit officials say the rate of breast cancer occurrence at the elementary school is actually lower than the national average.

At Albion Elementary it’s one in 19 women compared to the national average of one out of eight women getting breast cancer during their lifetime, according to the letter from C. Jay Ellie, MD, general director of WorkFit Medical, and Heather Hosking, director of occupational and comprehensive school health for WorkFit Medical.

Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer for women other than skin cancer.

WorkFit cited many factors that can increase the risk of breast cancer, such as alcohol use, being overweight and physical inactivity.

But none of the risk factors are environmental exposures. WorkFit quoted from the American Cancer Society which says research hasn’t shown a correlation between breast cancer and substances found in some plastics, certain cosmetics and personal care products, pesticides and PCBs.

Early detection is very important with breast cancer, WorkFit said.

After several incidents of breast cancer among staff in recent years, Bonnewell asked WorkFit for its opinion.

The school complex wouldn’t be a factor because environmental exposures haven’t been a culprit in contracting the disease.

Margy Brown, the Board of Education president, thanked Bonnewell for his inquiry to WorkFit.

“It’s something we continue to monitor at the district and take very seriously,” she said at this evening’s Board of Education meeting.

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