LKN Chamber program looks at cancer cluster in Huntersville

April 14. Lake Norman Chamber President Bill Russell acknowledged this month at a Huntersville Town Board Meeting that the concerns regarding ocular melanoma cases linked to the Hopewell High School area have now impacted his life and that of the chamber of commerce.

Russell said close friends have lost family members related to the rare eye cancer that local officials, including Huntersville Commissioner Rob Kidwell, have also expressed concerns about.  “Ocular melanoma has touched a number of lives in our Lake Norman region,” said Russell. “In the last couple of weeks, I have had another chamber of commerce member tell me his spouse has been diagnosed. It is my understanding that only five to six people in a million contract this disease, yet we see a dozen cases or more tied to the Huntersville area alone.  What is happening is statistically not possible.”

The chamber will host a Focus Friday briefing highlighting ocular melanoma and will include presentations by Kenny Colbert, the father of a local OM victim. Colbert is the president of The Employers Association in Charlotte. Colbert is joined by Commissioner Kidwell who has been an outspoken advocate in finding the cause for the huge spike in cases.  Also presenting is Dr. Kathleen Gordon, Medical Director – Department of Ophthalmology with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

The program starts at 8:30 a.m. at Novant Health Huntersville Medical Center in the Community Room. While the briefing is intended for Lake Norman Chamber of Commerce members, the public is invited to attend. There is no cost to participate. Novant Health – Huntersville Medical Center is the presenting sponsor of the program. Business Today and WSIC 100.7FM are media sponsors.

The meeting is designed to raise awareness and address specifics of the rare cancer which usually strikes people ages 55 and older. In the case of the cancer cluster, many of those diagnosed are much younger and do not fit the known profile which occurs most often in men.

Dr. Gordon, is a member of a state panel of experts that has examined the details of the Huntersville cases and called for a more thorough review by eye care professionals and researchers. She has also worked to get the Kittner Center at UNC involved in a program offering complimentary eye exams as part of expanded OM awareness.




One Response to “LKN Chamber program looks at cancer cluster in Huntersville”

  1. I live in Salisbury NC. I had Ocular Melanoma right eye treated at Duke Eye Center Jan 2014.

    Posted by steve | April 15, 2016, 3:25 pm

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