Still no cause after latest study into Huntersville-area eye cancer cluster

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Researchers still have no specific answer to why so many people in Huntersville – many young women – are getting the same rare eye cancer.

"We're sad for our community, and we're sad for our Kenan," Sue Colbert says.

Colbert and her husband Kenny have been attending many similar meetings for years. They lost their daughter Kenan, in her twenties, to ocular melanoma nearly four years ago.

"We still understand it's a long process, Sue Colbert says,

The latest research about the cancer, presented Monday night, focuses on nearly 20 patients' locations.

"Where they lived, where they spent their time," researcher John Cassels says.

A map shows several spots across the Huntersville area highlighting the locations of those diagnosed with this cancer, which researchers say only expands their area of study throughout northern Mecklenburg County.

"The geographical area of concern is not limited to Hopewell [High School] or Huntersville," Cassels says.

Ultimately, the information collected did not lead to any target cause.

"Nothing can be directly attributed to the cause of uveal melanoma at this time," Cassels says.

This is yet another letdown for the Colbert family, and dozens of others hoping for answers.

"We go away being disappointed," Sue Colbert says. "We knew we had a long way to go."

"This is one step in the process, and this didn't turn up what we were looking for," Kenny Colbert says. "So now we have to go to plan B, and plan C, and plan D."

This is far from the end of the road for these studies.

Tumor tissue is being studied right now in Columbia. Researchers are also studying similar clusters happening in Alabama and New York.

Monday night, Huntersville town commissioners established a special committee to decide how to move forward with these studies.

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