Doctors from Alabama and North Carolina were amazed to discover that an incredibly rare condition affected quite a big number of people from these two states. Ocular melanoma is a type of eye cancer that usually affects only six people in a million. Now, we suddenly witnessed a big number of cases that occurred in specific locations.
So many people diagnosed with ocular melanoma
Since ocular melanoma is so rare, one would think the chances of two people that know each other to develop the same disease are extremely small. Yet, this happened in two specific cities in Alabama and North Carolina, Auburn and, respectively, Huntersville.
At first, three university friends who all attended Auburn University got diagnosed with ocular melanoma. Then, doctors were surprised to see ten more people who apparently had the same disease. The situation was just as odd in Huntersville, where a disquieting number of 18 people received the same diagnosis.
Our eyes have pigments that are responsible for the various colors they can have. However, these cells are pretty sensitive, explaining why melanoma is so widespread. What most people don’t know is that melanoma can affect other organs apart from the skin. Eye pigment cells can get melanoma as well.
There must be an environmental factor involved
To understand how eyes can get cancer, you should know their anatomy. They contain three different layers, namely the sclera, the uvea, and the retina. Cancer cells usually form clusters right in the middle of the layers where it is incredibly hard to detect.
At first, it’s hard to diagnose it as it doesn’t show any symptoms. Then, your vision can gradually get blurry, you might see lights flashing in front of your eyes, and your pupil shape might change. Radiotherapy and chemotherapy are some treatment options, but some patients might need to have the tumors removed. In this case, they risk losing the affected eye.
The fact that all these cases of ocular melanoma occurred in the same place in so many numbers is odd. This is why doctors suspect an environmental factor might be to blame. However, they couldn’t come up with an explanation, and are still doing research.
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