Mother rejects 'cancer hysteria' talk

Diane Young and her son Matthew.
Diane Young and her son Matthew.

Helensburgh mum Diane Young has called for a public information session to address concerns about "toxic dumping hot spots" and coal dust fears.

Mrs Young, the mother of nine-year-old Matthew, who became the sixth child in five years to be diagnosed with blood cancer, rejected talk of hysteria in the town and said residents just wanted to know their environment was safe.

This week Heathcote MP Lee Evans called for calm while an expert panel set up by the Public Health Unit investigated the possibility of a cancer cluster in Helensburgh.

"The more you speak about it, the more it ends up being an issue. I'm concerned that there are some people within the community trying to whip up hysteria about it," Mr Evans said.

Mrs Young responded: "On reading Mr Evans's comments I would like to say that I am more than pleased that the concern that the close proximity of children in Helensburgh contracting cancer of the blood is going to be thoroughly investigated.

"The calm concern of parents in Helensburgh that the children are living up one end of town and five of the six attended the same school will be further subdued through swift proper results of the investigation," Mrs Young said.

"The idea of a town meeting would be more than welcome. A forum where the concerns of toxic dumping hot spots and health concerns about the coal dust could be addressed," she said.

"The need to have this issue dealt with correctly and swiftly is of utmost importance as we need to be reassured.

"At this stage there is no hysteria in town."

Mrs Young said her family had accepted Matthew's diagnosis and were not looking for a cause for his cancer.

"We are looking for a safe environment and lifestyle for him to regain his health and maintain it."

Mrs Young called for Wollongong councillor Greg Petty to be included on the expert panel, to represent the Helensburgh community.

Cr Petty said he would be willing to join the panel and was pleased the health unit had reacted to the concerns of the community.

He said he would be happy to convene a public information session to bring together concerned residents, political representatives and relevant authorities.