Study on rare eye cancer in North Mecklenburg Co. in final stages

HUNTERSVILLE, NC (WBTV) - The mystery continues as to why cases of a rare eye cancer continue to occur in the Huntersville, Cornelius, and Davidson areas.

However, residents of North Mecklenburg should soon get some clarity on a study that has been taking place to try and find a cause.

That study has been headed by Dr. Mike Brennan, a retired eye doctor who has volunteered to spearhead the efforts. The study has looked at a number of different factors, including commonality among patients, genetics, and tissue samples.

Dr. Brennan says within the next couple of weeks, those findings should be presented to the patients and to the community.

For Jessica Boesmiller, that is welcomed news.

"I do know that they are committed to finding answers for us," said Boesmiller. "I share that community frustration that we want answers, but also I am helping by giving my information to the researchers."

Boesmiller, in a way, became one of the faces of the mystery when she was diagnosed last fall with the rare form of eye cancer. She and her husband were expecting twins and made the decision to remove one of her eyes just days before the delivery.

Previous: Pregnant mother battles rare eye cancer concentrated in Huntersville area

Her story was shared all over the country and sparked greater calls for answers. Nearly 20 cases of the cancer have been reported over the past several years.

"I have been great. I have been focusing on my twins. They have been growing daily," said Boesmiller.  "It is more important for me to fix the problem and find answers here than to jump ship and run."

Boesmiller was fitted with a prosthetic eye this month, and it is hard to even tell it is fake.

"I am really happy with how it looks and how it feels. It is really nice to have your family look at you and see the old you," said Boesmiller. "The twins noticed a difference in the symmetry of mom's new face. I could tell that they could tell."

Boesmiller understands the frustration from the community with the lack of answers, but she is glad that people are now getting themselves tested early.

"If more people are getting early intervention," she said, "then it is all worth it."

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