An aggressive and deadly form of brain cancer, that affects only about 13,000 people in the U.S. each year, has been found in nearly a dozen people in Fort Pierce, Florida. In a town of only 45,000 people, the glioblastoma patients and their families want to know if something environmental is causing their illness.
After finding each other through word of mouth last year, they found a common thread in their lives: location. At one point they had all lived no more than 7 miles apart, with the majority living within 5 miles of each other, two of the patients lived in the same house- over a span of 20 years- and at one point, some even lived on the same street.
- have all lived a bulk of their lives in or near the 34982 zip code
- were diagnosed within the last 5 years
- the majority of the patients are younger than the average age for a glioblastoma diagnosis
Dr. Henry Friedman, a neuro-oncologist and the Deputy Director of the Preston Robert TischBrain Tumor Center at Duke University, who could only speak to the surface facts (age, location and number of cases), believes the number of people affected is “a higher number than one would expect during that common timeframe in such a small denominator as the size of that town” 1 and that the only known contributor to glioblastoma is radiation exposure.
Recently, the Florida Department of Health in St. Lucie County met with the support group of local glioblastoma patients and the health department plans to offer them any available services. But where is the EPA? Why aren’t local health officials talking to state health officials about what might be going on?
The family of Mark Cunningham, one of the patients, has a GoFundMe page to help raise funds for his growing medical bills. As always, please contribute as you are able.