Tens of individuals in North Carolina and Alabama are affected by a rare type of eye cancer, ocular melanoma, a fact which baffles the US doctors as they still don’t have a clue why is this “outbreak” happening.
18 individuals with rare eye cancer, also known as ocular melanoma, have been reported in Huntersville, in North Carolina. A second group, formed of over 30 individuals from Auburn, Alabama, was diagnosed with the mysterious disease, as reported by CBS News. Typically, this condition only appears in 6 out of 1 million individuals, annually.
Furthermore, 3 of the people who were diagnosed in Alabama, all women, are also friends and studied at the Auburn University together.
“Most people don’t know a person with this disease,” noted Dr. Marlana Orloff, an oncologist at the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, who has treated several patients with ocular melanoma. “I said, okay, these girls were in that place and they were diagnosed with a very rare disease. What’s going on?” asked Dr. Orloff.
Ocular Melanoma (Eye Cancer) is a rare disease which can be triggered by environmental and genetic factors
At the moment, doctors are not able to provide answers for reasoning why so many cases have been reported in such a short period of time. However, they do say that the environment may have an important role in this “outbreak“.
Ocular melanoma is a malignancy that causes the eye cells that are responsible for producing the melanin pigment to develop recklessly, reported the American Academy of Ophthalmology.
The risk factors for this rare disease are:
- Sun exposure;
- Lighter eye color
- Older age;
- Genetic inheritance;
- Presence of moles in the eye;
Eye cancer or ocular melanoma, a rare disease, can lead to blindness and can metastasize to the liver, bones, and even lungs. In fact, approximately 75% of those diagnosed with eye cancer will live only for about 5 years after the onset of the condition.