Cornwall

Heston School cancer cases 'at expected levels'

A health expert says a spate of bone cancer cases at a west Cornwall school more than 10 years ago fell within expected levels.

Six students at Helston School were diagnosed with osteosarcoma between 1998 to 2002.

Richard and Gill Callar took their concerns to a health minister after their daughter Emma died, aged 19.

Public Health Director Felicity Owen said a recent study showed the cases were not a cause for public concern.

Osteosarcoma occurs mainly during adolescence, when bones are growing fastest.

The six Helston students were between the ages of 14 and 17 when they were diagnosed. Five later died.

Ms Owen, from the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Primary Care NHS Trust, said: "We empathise with the families affected by cancer, and fully understand how small communities can quickly become very concerned, particularly when they hear of cancer cases among young people.

"The natural instinct is to ask if anything could have been done to prevent it and to ask if the cases may somehow be linked."

However, she added that there was no indication that people in the Heston area were at increased risk.

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