JAN 01, 2018 07:16 AM PST
Is There a Brain Cancer Cluster in Florida?
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A rare form of brain cancer that strikes mostly children under the age of 10 years old seems centered in a particular area of Florida. While it's very rare, there have been more than a few cases of Progressive Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma or DIPG. One local mom, whose family was impacted with DIPG, noticed that the rates of brain cancer in children seemed clustered in Seminole and Orange County, making up 30% of pediatric brain cancers in the entire state. In Orange County, 70% of the cases of brain cancer in kids occurred in a single zip code. The numbers were significant because the profoundly affected zip code only accounted for 5% of the population of children, but had the highest incidence of deadly brain cancers.

While the numbers in Florida are in line with national averages, researchers at Arnold Palmer Hospital are anxious to look at the data more closely. A study of specialists statewide is being undertaken to get a complete picture of the number of cases and what could be responsible for the higher numbers in specific areas. Because pediatric brain cancers are so deadly, the need for a better understanding of where the levels are highest is a significant first step in finding treatments.

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