SATELLITE BEACH , Fla. (WOFL FOX 35) - More than 20 people in one town have been diagnosed with cancer. All of them are in their 30’s and graduated from the same high school. It’s an alarming story out of Satellite Beach. Now the survivors are trying to learn what cancer clusters are, hoping to figure out if they’re part of one.
“There's got to be some kind of common link between all of us,” said Whitney Prieto, who’s battling breast cancer.
Whitney Prieto is one of the survivors. She was diagnosed this past fall with triple-negative breast cancer, a rare form. She’s one of at least 20 people who graduated from Satellite High School and in her 30’s was diagnosed with cancer. She wonders if there’s something in the environment causing her and others to become sick, and if there is, could people in that area of Brevard County get screened for cancer earlier?
“Unfortunately at our age, we have to wait until we find something in order to get screened so that's the problem. Then it's too late,” said Prieto.
After a meeting Sunday, the city of Satellite Beach promised to dig wells and test water for chemicals they think could be linked. The Center for Disease control and Prevention 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.” People in Satellite Beach are now wondering if they’re part of one.
“Why are we all being diagnosed with cancer, graduated from the same high school, growing up in the same area, with no family history and genetics? I think that's when we all started asking questions.”
Prieto has undergone 16 rounds of chemotherapy and is now in the middle of 30 rounds of radiation. It’s unclear when exactly work will begin on the wells and water testing, but city officials hope to have it completed by next month.
Fox 35 reached out to the state Health Department. They say there’s no active investigation, but they take the concerns seriously and are looking into it. If you have a case to report, call the Brevard County Health Department at (321) 454-7111.