Cancer Cluster and Regional Activity Tracker Project (CCARAT)

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Geographic information system (GIS) technology helps ATSDR identify and track cancer cluster data.

A cancer cluster is a greater-than-expected number of cancer cases within a group of people in a geographic area over a set period. Learn more about cancer clusters here. Cancer is complex, often making it difficult to identify, interpret, and address disease clusters. Trevor’s Law, part of the 2016 Frank Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act, was partially designed to strengthen federal agency coordination and accountability when investigating cancer clusters. Until now, there was no way to geospatially display cancer cluster data, which meant that ATSDR was unable to track cluster data year to year or determine if known hazardous material contamination could contribute to an increase in cancer clusters.

Unveiled for beta-testing in 2020, ATSDR’s Cancer Cluster and Regional Activity Tracker (CCARAT) is an innovative internal platform to geospatially track cancer cluster inquiries and site-specific environmental and public health activities. Combining new processes and technology, CCARAT allows ATSDR to piece together information from historical and current public health assessments, letter health consultations, exposure investigations, health consultations, and new cancer cluster inquiries.

For CDC and ATSDR staff, CCARAT will accelerate the process of responding to hazardous materials exposures and sharing priority environmental health information. CCARAT will continue to improve as ATSDR staff spend more time using and providing feedback for this dynamic tool during testing.

Page last reviewed: December 29, 2021