The Ministry of Fisheries and Coastal Affairs has started to examine possible health and environmental effects around the Russian military vessel Murmansk that wrecked in 1994 near Sørvær, a small community in Hasund Municipality in Finnmark County. The Ministry of Health and Care services has asked the Cancer Registry of Norway to see whether reported cancer cases at Sørvær and surrounding areas may be linked to pollution or radiation from the wreck.
The database of the Cancer Registry will be used to map prevalence of different cancer forms and compare the number of reported cases after 1994 with those reported in the period before the ship wrecked.
The Cancer Registry of Norway will check whether there are any conspicuous clusters of different cancer forms and compare these with prevalence of cancers in the Norwegian population. The examination will also look into other important factors in cancer etiology, as age among those affected by the illness.
The number of reported cancer cases can show large random fluctuations in small populations. It may, due to this, be difficult to assess a possible aberration from the national average and reach a clear scientific conclusion from such a small material.