Something odd is happening in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina; 11 people have been diagnosed with rare brain cancer and they all live within miles of each other. And now, locals are wondering if they are connected and what the cause might be.
Brandy Richardson, whose eight-year-old son Ethan was diagnosed with Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma recalls the day he was diagnosed as terminal, “They give you radiation and tell you to go home and enjoy your kid til he’s gone.”1
But that was just the start.
That same day another boy was diagnosed with the same rare brain cancer. Two kids from the same town. Two kids diagnosed on the same day. Two kids diagnosed in the same hospital. What were the odds?
Brandy’s sweet son Ethan died within a few months of his July 2013 diagnosis but shortly after his death, another little boy was diagnosed with the same tumor. In the exact same spot. Even though his tumor was rarer than Ethan’s, it was operable so a team of surgeons in Arizona were able to remove it and save his life.2
And recently, another Mount Pleasant boy was diagnosed with a rare brain tumor. 3
So far, eleven cases of rare tumors have popped up in the Mt. Pleasant subdivisions of Park West, Dunes West, and Rivertowne.
The families have been in touch with health officials and Senator Lindsey Graham’s office, hoping for answers. DHEC says it is currently examining the data as a cancer cluster but doesn’t yet have an answer.
According to the American Cancer Institute, 1,000 cancer clusters are reported in the United States every year. 4