NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Governor Andrew Cuomo is stepping up efforts to prevent, diagnose, and treat cancer across the state.

As 1010 WINS’ Al Jones reported, Staten Island is among four locations the a new cancer research initiative will focus on.

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It’s a half-million-dollar cancer study that’s aimed at answering ‘why?’ Cuomo asked, why do some areas have a higher rate of cancer?

“Why does Staten Island have a higher rate of cancer than the other boroughs?” Cuomo asked.

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Some believe it could be rooted in location.

“We do have our theories that there is a cancer alley here on Staten Island,” State Senator Andrew Lanza said.

Residents on Staten Island suspect proximity to New Jersey’s chemical companies and the old Fresh Kills landfill plays a part.

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Cuomo said the year-long study by the state health and environmental conservation departments will also focus on Long Island, the Buffalo area, and upstate Warren County.