Phillies, Cancer: What are the Odds?


July 16, 2013

Four Phillies players have developed brain cancer, and it begs the question: is this a random coincidence or is there some connection? The Philadelphia Inquirer wanted to know, so they did the math. They found that over a 30-year period, the rate of brain cancers in team members appeared to be about three times the rate in the adult male population. Timothy Rebbeck, PhD, a professor in the Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, says that number is statistically significant, but the pattern easily could be due to chance. "These figures suggest that there's an elevated risk of brain cancers in the baseball players compared to the general population," Rebbeck told the Inquirer. "You can't rule out the possibility that it's random bad luck."

Philadelphia Inquirer article