U.S. Rep. Brian Mast is reaching out to Fort Pierce residents, looking for their help to get to the bottom of whether or not something is causing some people who live there to become sick with a deadly form of brain cancer, called glioblastoma.
Mast’s team said it sent emails or mailed letters to nearly everyone who lives in the 34982 zip code. That is one area in the county where people who have experienced the disease are concerned about the close proximity of the cases. At least a dozen are within a few miles of each other, some are also on the same street.
The letter read as follows:
Dear neighbor, you may have seen news reports recently on WPTV about an unusually high prevalence of glioblastoma diagnoses in and around the 34982 zip code. This anomaly deserves an explanation which is why I immediately contacted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. I believe more must be done to help these families and keep our community healthy, and thankfully, the CDC has expressed a willingness to me to be helpful. So, I’m reaching out to you now in hopes of obtaining any more information to provide the CDC. If you have any information to share, you can do so here: WWW.MAST.HOUSE.GOV/EMAIL
WPTV’s investigation found more than 50 diagnoses of glioblastoma in about the last five years, county-wide. The health department said that number is expected for the area. However, some families battling the disease want health officials to take a closer look at smaller areas in the county where they fear something is causing the cancer.
On average, 1 in 30,000 people are diagnosed with glioblastoma each year in the United States. The disease, on average, affects people 60-years-old and older. Multiple patients in St. Lucie County are younger, including their 30s.
Fort Pierce resident Rolando got the letter from Mast this week.
“It’s kind of scary,” he said. “I try not to think about it. I’d be scared, freaked out all my life,” Castro said.
Once he learned about the local glioblastoma concerns, he agreed he’d like to see some kind of testing in the area.
Resident George Dead also got the letter.
He’s been concerned for weeks now about the local cases.
“How could it be this close to your home?” Dean wondered. He’s glad to see Mast giving their concerns attention.
“I think it takes someone on his level to help us,” Dean said. “I would really like to know what it’s connected to.”
Mast’s office said it has received some responses already from patients, families and neighbors.