A rare eye cancer is mysteriously targeting women in two areas in Alabama and North Carolina, and doctors so far are unable to explain why so many cases are confined to just there.
There are 33 known cases of ocular melanoma reported in Auburn, Alabama, which has a population of 60,000, and 18 diagnoses have been made in Huntersville, North Carolina, comprised of about 54,000 residents, Newsweek reported.
Experts are battling to find a common thread to link the cases.
In Alabama, the only connection shared among the 33 people with the rare cancer is that they all lived or worked in Auburn between 1980 and the early 1990s, Healthline reported.
North Carolina has a similar situation, with the common link between the 18 cases being that the people diagnosed with ocular melanoma lived or worked in Huntersville since 2000.
Ocular melanoma, which is diagnosed in about 2,500 adults each year in the U.S., is a malignant tumor that can grow and spread to other parts of the body, according to the Ocular Melanoma Foundation.
The tumors form from the pigment cells that give color to the eye and there is no known cause, although researchers believe people with lighter skin and blue eyes are more prone to being diagnosed with it.
While health experts are baffled by why the areas show a higher incidence of the cancer, with little funding available, they are unable to conduct conclusive research.
WLTZ recently reported on doctors’ efforts in Alabama to obtain funding to continue research on the eye cancer.
Alabama State Sen. Larry Stutts tried to get $100,000 in the education budget, but the legislature failed to approve the money.
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