12 Teachers in One E. Iowa District Diagnosed with Breast Cancer
Within the last decade, 12 teachers in the Hudson Community School District, have been diagnosed with breast cancer.
Two teachers who have experienced the disease after a multitude of years in the district have now started to raise questions after a young teacher was recently diagnosed.
Carol Menefee, a teacher in the Elementary school had her diagnosis come in 2009. At that point in time, she had stage three breast cancer -- in 2016 she had her second bout with cancer, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.
I did a double mastectomy, and I went through chemo and 33 rounds of radiation.
Diane Anderson who taught in the district for over thirty years before retiring was diagnosed with triple-negative metastatic breast cancer, a rare type. She proceeded to go through five months of chemotherapy and 25 rounds of radiation.
The pair started to question whether or not something in the environment of the school was causing such a drastic number of diagnoses.
Per KWWL, "Anderson reached out to the Black Hawk County Health Department, who referred her to the Iowa Department of Public Health, who pointed her to the Iowa Cancer Registry at the University of Iowa, which investigates cancer clusters."
Following their conversation with the Cancer Registry, Anderson and Menefee along with two other teachers approached Hudson Schools Superintendent Dr. Tony Voss about participating in a cancer cluster investigation.
With Dr. Voss's permission, the study will begin today.
Here's what Voss told the Waterloo-based news station about the decision:
Whenever someone is diagnosed with cancer, we wrap our arms around them and say, what can I do? They took me in my word. What can I do? They said this is what you can do. ... I was just struck by how they had done their work beforehand. They made the decision an easy decision.
The CDC defines a cancer cluster as "a greater-than-expected number of cancer cases that occurs within a group of people in a geographic area over a period of time."
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