Expert discusses findings from Huntersville cancer cluster research

HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. — Mystery still surrounds the Lake Norman community after experts presented the findings of more than four months of research.

At the Huntersville Town Board meeting Monday, a geospatial expert presented analysis of more than a dozen people who have been diagnosed with ocular melanoma.

[IMAGES: Victims in Huntersville with eye cancer]

The findings pinpointed numerous hot spots where many of the people intersected including Hopewell High School and near U.S. Highway 73, but the research did not provide any specific source that could be viewed as a cause.

Ocular melanoma is an extremely rare eye cancer that affects around 5 in 1 million people. In the Lake Norman area, around two dozen people have been diagnosed with it.

"I have guilt and I wonder if it is the environment," said Sue Colbert, whose daughter Kenan died of ocular melanoma.


Unfortunately, there isn't an easy way to figure this out and experts concluded more research still needs to be done.

To help facilitate that research and decide where it should be applied, the town of Huntersville is forming a committee. The committee includes Dr. Michael Brennan, a retired eye doctor heading up the cause; Rob Kidwell, a former Huntersville commissioner; and Lee Sullivan, a journalist who has extensively covered the cancer cluster.

The town and the committee plan to add more members.

"This is like a never-ending treasure hunt," Kidwell said. "This is just one more clue."

The Colbert family hopes the clues are coming from above.

"I still think Keenan will lead us to the answer," Colbert said.

The town of Huntersville is planning on releasing the geospatial analysis to the public and the committee is going to share the data with researchers in Auburn, Alabama where another eye cancer cluster has formed.