Cancer: The Island’s deadliest enemy

LEVELS of some of the deadliest forms of cancer are higher in Jersey than almost anywhere else in Britain.

Medical Officer of Health Dr Susan Turnbull is among the  health professionals leading the fight against cancer in Jersey
Medical Officer of Health Dr Susan Turnbull is among the health professionals leading the fight against cancer in Jersey

LEVELS of some of the deadliest forms of cancer are higher in Jersey than almost anywhere else in Britain.

Today – as part of a three-day series on the disease – the JEP can reveal that rates for almost all of the top-ten most common forms of cancer are higher than the average in the UK. Rates for the deadliest form of skin cancer – malignant melanoma – are the highest in Britain.

And levels of lung and head and neck cancers, which have a very low survival rate, are among the highest in the British Isles and similar to those seen in the deprived areas of northern England.

• See today's Jersey Evening Post for full story

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Comments for: "Cancer: The Island’s deadliest enemy"

Rocket Science Not

"Rates for the deadliest form of skin cancer – malignant melanoma – are the highest in Britain".

Sunniest place in the British isles - anyone surprised?

Smoking - seems all the Portuguese and Poles smoke, again not a surprise.

Drinking - 100,000 alcoholics clinging to a rock.

It's not hard to see why our cancer rates are so high.

i never use suntan lotion, but go nut brown within days of spring sunshine

SUNBURN is the problem. spending your whole life outdoors is NOT A PROBLEM. attacking your immune system with alcohol, smoking, stress, office politics,air conditioned cars and double glazed houses RUINS WHATEVER HEALTH YOU STARTED OFF WITH. sensible amouts of sleep are VERY IMPORTANT, and a life with PLENTY OF GERMS IS GOOD FOR YOU.


"Seems all the Portuguese and Poles smoke" - bit of a generalisation don't you think? I don't think its fair to single out Portuguese and Polish people, its not like we don't see the good old Jersey banker out having a fag and bingeing on alcohol at the weekend.

Penny B

I agree Annie- there are plenty of smokers here of all nationalities, sad to say.

I don't know how they can afford it.


Just like everything else in Jersey - highest amount of mobile phone masts, highest amount of cars, highest number of drug addicts, highest number of alcoholics, the list goes on. Call in an expert to analyse these figures and give the reasons for them


All those agricultural chemicals from the potatoes that leach into the water .........

Cap de la Hague nuclear plant ..........


All those years of cheap cigarettes starting to take it's toll? You shall reap what you sow. Just unfortunate that those of use who choose to look after our bodies still get affected by their filthy carcinogens.



i agree, i don't smoke, don't drink and rarely wash, i walk a lot, have only been to the doctor twice in 30 years, earache toothache. i sleep well and eat sensibly.

that which you sow.... so shall you reap!

Chemist and past cancer patient

Agree with all the above! Ban cigarettes, cut down on the booze, get rid of the telephone masts....why do we have so many networks in such a small Island (just agree on a non-greedy price by JT), investigate the real dangers of the granite on the Island as well as the side effects of living so close to the nuclear power station in France, such a large amount cars in the Island....would it be silly to introduce cable carts, electric trams into the island....just an idea. What about the effects of bellozane over the years??

Why doesn't the government just invest into some decent research (which many Universities in the UK would be happy to do for PhD postgraduate degrees - as I am doing similar as a chemistry student). Why are we paying a Medical Officer of Health so much money to tell us simple statistics which should be freely available anyway.....she can't tell us the important information which is "WHY' are we seeing these high levels.

Clem Mystery

The granite on the island? Ths island IS granite. The health problems associated with Radon are already well documented.

Introduce electric trams. Aherm.... where does our electricity come from? France. How is it generated? Nuclear generated. Don't complain about the reprocessing plant and then suggest this......

The causes are many and complex. Best you stick to selling plasters. The politicians in the island have been using them well to cover over the cracks that represent poor governance for years.


Just a thought , how exactly are these stats formulated , ie: alcohol , do they take into account the volume taken up by the hospitality industry as I feel that trying to extrapolate these figures would be almost impossible , tourism against local uptake.


Has the Cap got your tongues?

The Channel Islands are sitting next door to one of the world's biggest nuclear reprocessing plants, with sea and gas discharges (shown by Americium levels in molluscs, for example).Reprocessing plants are different from nuclear power stations and have greater amounts of gaseous discharges (with solids in their decay chains).This MOX fuel has raised levels of "bad" isotope proportions...."burning" nuclear waste makes the waste worse:

Very recent French epidemiology ,

conducted by a team from the Institut National de la Sante et de la Recherche


(INSERM), the Institut de Radioprotection et de Surete Nucleaire (IRSN)


the National Register of hematological diseases of children in

Villejuif, outside Paris, demonstrates during the period from 2002-2007 in France

the doubling of childhood leukemia incidence: the increase is up to 2.2

among children under age five.

International Journal of Cancer study by C. Sermage-Faure, D.

Laurier, S. Goujon-Bellec, M. Chartier, A. Guyot-Goubin, J. Rudant, D. Hemon and J. Clavel, “Childhood leukemia around French nuclear power plants , the Geocap

study, 2002-2007, the document is online in English at:

While in no way wishing to diminish the suffering of all involved, the numbers are tiny. The children are, however, the canaries in the coalmine. They are the most sensitive to alpha emitters( seriously undercounted since Hirosaki), and, in infancy, can absorb X100 adult amounts of Plutonium, Americium and Neptunium.

The statistics most dangerous to complacency are those for foetal pathology...early neonatal deaths, congenital malformations and infant mortality. Are they readily available to researchers? Why has Alderney twice the infant mortality of Jersey? Look at the geography, or are differences in deprivation levels sufficient?

It is also important to continually remind granite geology dwellers of the additive carcinogenesis of Radon..about which there is much unscientific (property price) controversy in the USA.

Tony B

Information on Milignat Melanoma was given to primary school children and their parents in the 1960's. At the same time the WI were arranging trips to Ching's fatory.

Parktown Prawn

Blimey, by reading this scaremongering you'd think the whole population had some form of cancer or other.

Does Jersey have a high proportion of big C sufferers because the island has an open door policy.....perhaps a lot of these sufferers are your notorious "health tourists"?

More facts please and less scaremongering!!

Besides, what are you going to do about it? .....find a cure?

Fanny by Gaslight!

We live next door to the biggest nuclear power plant in Europe!

The nuclear power plant has deficiencies and no doubt releases Krypton 85 amongst other nasties.Krypton 85 is a common cause of skin cancer along with other forms of the disease.

Lets suppose that the French nuclear plant releases the same amount of waste as Sellafield,that plant releases the same amount of radiation as Chernobyl every four and a half years.

Of course Jersey being Jersey will probably deny this,not print it,cover it up and deny it again,still its the truth,so why hide from it.

Tony B

Considering you live on a lump of Granite, forget it, your card is marked.


Not a lot of help this article with its huge banner etc: to people that have just been told they have cancer, little bit more sensitivity and compassion please people

R B Bougourd

There is a world of difference between the radiation that comes from the Sun and nuclear incidents and that from mobile phone masts.

Mobile phone masts do not emit Gamma rays, ionising radiation and similar nasties.

Radio waves, including microwaves, are nearer to Infra Red which provides nothing more harmful than heat. Believe me*, you would have to stand very close to a phone aerial to feel any heat. The science involved is comparable to looking at a light bulb across a room rather than with it up against your eye.

People who are worried about mobile phone masts are more than likely unwitting pawns in games being played to discredit commercial rivals. Nobody worried about radiation until new kids came on the block using slightly higher frequencies than the original service providers. Could it be that the entire scare could be the result of industry generated tactics when competion became a reality? In England it was always 'Orange' that nobody wanted in their back yard. I often wondered if the colour sounded more hostile than the gentler blue of Cellnet (who were fortunate enough to put their gear on top of telephone exchanges, barely noticed, rather like the JT cellular aerials that went on their wooden poles with few people knowing what they were). If Orange had called themselves 'Green' the public might have been less apprehensive.

Nobody seems to worry at all about the much higher effective radiated power of television transmitters or the radars on their yachts, using frequencies which between them straddle the wavelengths used by mobile phones!

Worry about the Sun and Cap de la Hague by all means, they are potentially very nasty, but don't lose too much sleep over RF heating from mobile phones unless you are holding them right up near your eyeballs.

If you are a worrier, though, and given to blame electricity power lines for your woes and ailments you might like to consider not sleeping on a working electric blanket. The alternating current in its wires is a lot nearer to your body than the JEC poles and wires running down the road!

*You don't have to believe me, of course, but I have a good enough grounding in science not to be even slightly concerned about radiation from cellphone systems harming me.

Rozel Aubin

Don't forget Radon gas, the curse of the Granite corners, St Ouen, St Brelade and La Rocque.


Once again the data is not really like for like now is it.

The UK has a population density of about 273 per km2 and Jersey has a population density of about 844 per km2. So on this basis you would expect Jeresy to have a higher rate of about 3 times.

Catz Eye

Its going to get worse.

Quite apart from Cap de la Hague, my children's generation seem to think "recreation" means alcohol. Add to that the comparative cheapness of it, cheap tobacco, readily available "substances", a culture of come and go casual relationships, a couch potato attitude that means many teens or young twenties are very much overweight, eat junk food full of additives and semingly have no interest in their own health at all. I cannot say this is true of my family as we all watch our health, but I see it far too much amongst their friends. Although, - if you believe the media - my generation are going to be the ones that there will be a need to care for during our extended old age, what we should worry about is whether any of the younger generation will even SURVIVE long enough to do the job for us!


I agree, I find it frightening how many obese young women, some barely out of their teens you see when walking around St Helier.

Many of them are going to have serious health problems before they reach 40 - and yet they keep banging on about the ageing population- many 70 year olds are much healthier than the younger generations.


Toxic waste under the waterfront can't be helping...


tanning salons aren't either...


The problem is exacerbated though stress caused by having to work in awful finance offices full of spoilt prima donnas.

Jersey Medic

R B Bougourd (#12): Finally!! A sensible comment.

The rest of you lot have been reading far too much Daily Mail. Just a few thoughts:

- Mobile phone masts give you cancer: The majority of the Western world is covered by mobile signal, what's special about here?

- Cap de la Hague gives you cancer: Lots of people world wide live near a nuclear power facility... Is it just that them sneaky French Froggies are wafting some ionising radiation our way for a laugh (PS they're not, prevailing winds and tides waft the ionising radiation the other way)?

- The chemicals they use on the spuds ma larv eh!! Here's news; lots of places have farms which use fertilisers.

You can't read an article like this without having some basic understanding of disease 'clusters' and the like. This *excellent* BBC article gives us a start . And this one by the ever sensible and readable Ben Goldacre expands on the area:

At the end of the day its easy to blame these things for causing our higher cancer rate. Yes blame the power plant, mobile phones, farmers, office stress and the like. The fact is is likely to be partially genetic, partially environmental (radon, higher amount of sun etc), but for the most part it is down to each individual: Cut out the fags, drink less, eat some lettuce... But of course that's much harder to do isn't it?

R B Bougourd

Hi, Jersey Medic. I never expected someone to agree!

Regarding Cap de La Hague/Flamanville, a couple of observations. The tides do reverse for part of each cycle but I tend to think of it as running towards France mainly. Drowned bodies from Jersey traditionally end up on Cotentin beaches. Same with the wind, but let's hope that the reactor doesn't blow up when there is an anticyclone. The effect on the eyeballs and skin of Jersey coastal path walkers and car park afficionados near Les Platons would, of course, be instantaneous. The blast takes a little longer.

My 'chance in a million scenario' involves a leak of radioactive material into the sea and a big bass swimming through it with its mouth wide open. It migrates into Jersey waters, gets caught and ends up being eaten by a family who are blissfully unaware of its toxic cargo!

I hate lettuce but quite like other salad leaves and I stuff fennel in my bass! Will that negate my ominous genetic prognosis?

Baz Du Mont

After years of God Knows What blowing all over the island from the top of the Bellozane Chimney, contaminating the air, settling on farmland, getting into the food chain, is it any surprise?


Disagree..the Govt is the islands deadliest enemy


And check that out:

Campaigners in Jersey are worried toxic ash from Guernsey could be buried in the island.

Guernsey does not have an incinerator and Jersey's incinerator is so big it needs rubbish.

Guernsey's States recently voted in favour of investigating the possibility of sending rubbish to the island.

But politicians have said on Tuesday that Guernsey would not be able to take back the 'toxic fly ash'.

If this were the case, there would be concerns it would have to be buried in Jersey, which has alarmed campaigners.

They fear a huge mound is going to have to be built near La Collette.

They say not only would it blight the landscape but would pose a health hazard.


My brother died from cancer at a very young age - he never smoked in his entire life, was a social drinker of very limited amounts- refused to eat processed food and never in his life used a microwave and didn't sunbath. So all these studies of what you should and shouldn't do as far as I am concerned and my brother was concerned is a load of rubbish ! It was a bolt from the blue when he was diagnosed primarily for him but also our family, one of the last people on earth our family expected to contract this awful disease, he was the healthiest living of our entire family!!

For any of you that have had to go through watching a loved one fade through this illness and have to sit and watch them die at such a young age will understand what I mean. To read some of the nonsense on here makes me mad - I just hope most of you never have to go through what my brother went through and my parents having to bury their son.

More research is required for not only the cause but the cure too


Harry -you have my sympathies and I agree that some people make the stupidest most insensitive comments.I have spent time on a childrens cancer ward recently so I fully agree that cancer can be a complete bolt from the blue especially where children and healthy living young people are concerned.It is a lottery in my opinion.I too am all for more research and hopefully more speedy dignosis as I have heard some horror stories about doctors not picking up on certain things and people having to wait for scans(in Jersey this seems to be getting a lot worse from what I hear)I wish you and your family happier times Harry.


Julie - Many thanks for your sympathies. I will not even begin with my comments and anger with the hospital - my letter of complaint is far from complete! In an Island with this much money, it is beyond belief not only the time scales of waiting for scans, biopsies etc....but also missing vital signs! and due to staff shortage, (due to the nurses being severely underpaid) the hospital having to call me to look after my brother when he was admitted, which I would have done anytime of the day or night, he was my only sibling. My worry is what about patients that don't have family who can do that ! excuse my ramblings this page is about cancer, but that was my experience with my brother who had cancer. My belief is - cancer is an awful disease but with much earlier diagnosis and not missing vital signs many more lives could be saved

ex J cat

It is true there are staff shortages and that these are due to nurses being unwilling to work here because it's so expensive and the job is not well paid.

Also we need a new hospital and an upgrade of facilities.

Deepest sympathy for your loss.

Iona Toole

Sorry for your loss.

Unfortunately, pollution can come from multiple sources over the years, and the long-term cumulative effects are impossible to pin down. Even if he lived under the fallout from Bellozane for a while it couldn't be definitelt proven to be the cause.

But every little thing we do to look after ourselves is still worth doing.


Having nuclear plants very near to another country is out of order in my book. If a country wants to have nuclear plants it should be forced by international law to place them well within their own borders so that in the event of a problem they tend to radiate their own population to a higher degree, instead of others in another country who may have adopted a none muclear policy.

I would like to see an investigation into radiation levels in local shellfish and wet fish and land animals to see if they are above expectations. However this doesn't seem to be an angle the authorities have explored so far as far as I am aware.

As for radiation it is unseen and its impact on cancer levels and other illness is not properly known especially if you don't even know the actual levels of radiation whether natural, from things like granite, or man made in origin.

Electro-magnetic radiation can also have adverse as well as beneficial effects on the well being of organisms. The Body Electric by Robert O. Becker is well worth a read.

I wouldn't say Bellozane was good for health and the same goes for toxic waste dumps.

Damaging the Ozone level must have had an impact on health worldwide as well.

The planet is being turned into a toxic waste dump by humans and it is having repercussions for every living organsim on the plnaet.

Any degradation of the environment is not recommended. Jersey's nitate levels in water are above EU limits for example. What is the impact on health? Answers on a post card.....


I might be wrong, but that is probably that same nuclear station who powers your TV every night .

If you put a pop corn between 4 phones while they ring you get pop corn. Probably the same reason not to put you phone in you jacket by your heart.

Preservatives in food, Asbestos in houses (also under the waterfront),pesticide on fruits and veg, made cows and pig/chicken flu, the list could go on.

I even heard that aluminium can give you alzheimer, which can be find in food tins/wrapping, antiperspirant and more.

Could be related to stress,or from swimming in the nitrates around the esplanade.

Could be Jersey milk or potatoes who knows ?

Parktown Prawn


If you put a "pop corn" between 4 phones then of course you are going to get "pop corn" will still get "pop corn" if you put it on it's own!!


C Le Verdic

Kermit's obviously been looking at too many You tube spoofs, unless he's got some kilowatt cellphones.

I think he probably meant fresh corn in the first part of his statement, although he will need some ready made popcorn in order to accomplish the 'feat'.

Mr Logic

If you put a bag of crisps between four phones when they ring you get- a bag of crisps. If you put an apple there, you get an apple. It's quite something to see.

But if you put four phones in the microwave, you get a lot of sparks and a molten mass of a plastic aggregate.


Concrete Cancer possibly from all the buildings going up.

Won't be long until you won't be able to see the sun let alone get a tan.