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Rare eye cancer brings doctors to Auburn

Updated: Feb. 10, 2018 at 4:35 PM CST
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Uveal Melanoma is a rare cancer of the eye; doctors say that it affects five out of every one million people.
After discovering that at least 14 people with some kind of connection to Auburn have been diagnosed with the rare cancer, Uveal Melanoma experts traveled in from Philadelphia.
Right now doctors do not know what causes the cancer. They say they are trying to gather information and hear patients’ stories.
“We’ve known for a number of years that there have been a number of patients that lived in the area who have been diagnosed with this rare cancer. Because the cancer is so rare, it’s not often that you find somebody that knows somebody with the cancer, let alone knows two people or three people or had a college roommate that had this cancer," said Medical Oncologist and Assistant Professor at Thomas Jefferson University Marlana Orloff.
Experts are conducting a similar Uveal Melanoma investigation in North Carolina.
Doctors say there is no reason to panic or pull students off campus because they do not know what causes the cancer, and can not say that Auburn is involved.

Auburn University released the following statement: "The university encourages spreading the word about uveal melanoma and all types of cancer and the need for early detection, and it welcomes the cancer researchers looking into this rare cancer. Our understanding is the scientific community has not yet established what causes it, and there is no known causal connection that would indicate any student or employee is in danger. The university would act immediately if it knew of any unsafe condition on campus. The health and safety of our students and employees are of utmost importance. Tests are available through optometrists or ophthalmologists for anyone wishing to be tested."

Doctors recommend that everyone, not just Auburn residents, get annual dilated eye exams.

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