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Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Crushing Fools Blog is celebrating one hundred (100) article and counting.
One in five overseas officers who lived in Henderson Barracks in the late 1950s and early 1960s and who stayed on the Island, either died of cancer or were battling against the disease, a local survey found in 1998.
Around 15 were either dead or diagnosed as having the disease in 1998, but the figure is now thought to be nearer 20.
The unexplained cluster includes at least eight ex-officers who are known to have died of the disease.
Other ex-Policemen who left the Island for Canada and the United Kingdom after living in the barracks have also died of cancer.
After the story broke in the Mid-Ocean News in 1998, the Daily Telegraph in London reported there were fears that 130 officers who did a three-year tour in Bermuda may have contracted cancer but did not realise it.
Chief Medical Officer Dr. John Cann launched an inquiry into the deaths in 1998, but so far no details of the investigation have been released. At the time, Dr. Cann said an overseas expert would need to be brought in to look at the information collected.
Many of the officers contracted cancer of the oesophagus. Statistics from the United Kingdom show the likelihood of contracting the disease is one in 7,000.
A Police spokeswomen said yesterday: "The matter is in the hands of the Health Department''.
Dr. Cann was off the Island yesterday, and Dr. Brenda Davidson, who was supervising the investigation, was on leave.
A Department spokeswoman said no one else would be able to comment. Former Police officer Neville Spalding, who has intenstinal cancer and had 80 percent of his stomach taken out, said he had been visited by Dr. Davidson in connection with the cancer cluster.
"I believe she and (chief Medical Officer Dr. John Cann) care, but they are Government employees and I don't know how far they want them to take this.
Cancer mystery deepens "I don't know if they really want to do this or not.
"Brenda did tell me there is nothing conclusive and it probably doesn't point anywhere because there is such a broad spectrum of illness.
"They probably need an epidemiologist or a good insurance inspector to find out what happened.'' Friends and former colleagues yesterday paid tribute to 57-year-old Mr.
Instone. Cable and Wireless general manager Eddie Saints said: "John did recognise that a group of former Police officers who stayed at the barracks had got cancer and he took his health very seriously.
"He said he was lucky he was as healthy as he was and he was very conscious of it.
"He was highly regarded within the Cable and Wireless family and I have recieved messages of condolence from around the Caribbean. He touched a lot of people, and we just wish we could have done more for him.'' Sadly missed: John Instone, the latest former Bermuda Policeman to die from cancer.