New data released, investigation continues into high rate of thyroid cancer in Iredell County

New data released, investigation continues into high rate of thyroid cancer in Iredell County

IREDELL COUNTY, NC (WBTV) - New data from the North Carolina Central Cancer Registry (NCCCR) confirms there is a higher rate of thyroid cancer diagnoses in the southwestern and southeastern parts of Iredell County compared to the state overall during the 2015-2016 time period.

A study announced in June showed the 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 - the 28115 and 28117 zip codes - to be diagnosed.

“We know many people in the community are concerned about the higher rates of thyroid cancer diagnoses in southern Iredell County, and we share those same concerns,” a release from the County Manager read Tuesday.

The release states cases increased from 21 in the 1995-1999 time frame to 181 from 2012-2016.

Iredell County resident Susan Wind has worked to bring attention to the thyroid cancer rates in the area. Since June, she has met with local and state officials and worked with the NC Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), the Department of Environmental Equality (DEQ), and a Duke University research team to look into the situation.

So far, no concrete reasons for the higher cancer rates in the area have been found.

“Having a higher than expected rate of thyroid cancer doesn’t necessarily mean that people living in the community now are at a higher risk of developing cancer,” the release states. “This also doesn’t mean that there will be a common cause identified, such as something in the environment. Higher rates can also be due to changes in the population, increased testing, or other factors. However, we understand exposure to environmental contaminants is a major concern for our citizens, and we are advocating for DHHS, DEQ, and third parties to investigate that possibility.”

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