State department now investigating Iredell County thyroid cancer cases

State department now investigating Iredell County thyroid cancer cases

IREDELL COUNTY, NC (WBTV) - In Iredell County, a new study shows an uptick in thyroid cancer cases may go back earlier than originally thought.

For years, people have wondered what is causing more people in the area to be diagnosed.

Now the state is getting involved and the Department of Health and Human Services is recognizing that there is a problem.

"It's more validation and that's what we need," Jennifer Brown says.

Brown was 39 years old when she was diagnosed in January saying, "I felt like the room was spinning, it was unbelievable."

After undergoing treatment, she is now cancer free.

"I'm always going to be the person that had cancer and there's nothing I can do about it," she says.

In Brown's home of Iredell County, the state says there are 475 people that have had the cancer from 1995 to 2016, and the report does not include cases in the year 2017, or 2018, like Brown's.

"I'm kind of glad to hear that somebody else is involved, but it's really scary," Brown said.

Right now, Brown is a part of a Duke University study into thyroid cancer in the area.

Duke Researcher Heather Stapleton says her team will work with the state moving forward.

"Potentially looking at exposures that might be related to chemicals that may be in the air," she says. "May be in the soil, may be in water, so there's several options we're considering right now."

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