NHDHHS and Dartmouth Seek Community Input on Kidney Cancer Study

June 26, 2024

The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (NHDHHS) and Dartmouth College are working on a project to explore factors influencing kidney cancer rates in Merrimack, New Hampshire. This project includes Community Engagement Studios, which are moderated discussions with patients and community members to learn about community concerns, while also working to improve the study design and recruitment. These studios offer an opportunity for researchers to consult with the community for feedback on concerns and improve the research’s quality.

The investigation is building on a DHHS analysis which found that from 2009 to 2018, there were more kidney cancer cases among Merrimack residents than typically expected in a similarly sized town. Previous findings indicate that the local drinking water is contaminated with PFAS chemicals, which are associated with adverse health effects, including kidney cancer. However, there is currently no definitive link to cancer in Merrimack, and further study is necessary to determine if there is a common cause that might explain the excess cancer cases. 

To explore this further, the study team is looking for participants from Merrimack and nearby areas to join Community Engagement Studios. Participation involves completing two brief surveys and attending 90-minute sessions, available both in-person and via Zoom. Feedback from both individuals with and without kidney cancer are needed to plan a successful study. Consider providing feedback or learn more.