ST. LUCIE COUNTY, Fla. - FOX 29 has uncovered nearly 30 cases and counting of glioblastoma in St. Lucie County over a span of nearly five years.
More cases also precede that time frame.
With the help of families and loved ones of patients coming forward and telling their stories, FOX 29 is helping share that information with the Florida Department of Health in St. Lucie County.
Administrator Clint Sperber has taken note of the local concerns and is working with state health officials to get to the bottom of whether or not there is a bigger health issue, or if the seemingly higher number of cases are unrelated.
"I can start out by saying we are very concerned," Sperber said.
"We are learning of potentially more cases than one might expect," Sperber continued. But, exactly how many more is still unclear.
Sperber says state health officials are crunching numbers and looking at a cancer database to get a better idea of what the local numbers are exactly, and what would be expected for the county.
Those numbers could be coming soon.
"I'd say we have another week or two at most until we learn a little more about what they're going to find," Sperber said.
Depending on what the numbers show, health officials will determine what to do next.
Sperber also said conversations with FOX 29's Meghan McRoberts have prompted further local action.
"Just conversations I had with you and you learning about more and more cases, that's when I approached my leadership in Tallahassee and recommended why don't we try to be out in front of this a little bit."
Sperber says the health department is now working to create an online resource on the health department's website for reporting glioblastoma cases. That could be ready by the end of the week.
St. Lucie County residents have also brought their concerns to the attention of Erin Brockovich.
She responded to FOX 29, offering her thoughts and a resource for continued monitoring of local glioblastoma cases.
The letter read in part:
It is always unnerving when so many people have glioblastoma's in a small area.
It's difficult to know what a cause or link might be without further investigation. I see from your story, that the health department is assisting those affected and looking into this.
I will be getting back to those that reached out to me and ask them to report to the Community Healthbook. This is a self-reporting map that we developed for communities to report health concerns and provides for those who have moved away, and may have a similar issue, to report back to. This helps us identify these locations, finding those who moved away and allows us mobilize to the area and provide assistance.
Who can you contact?
- Meghan.McRoberts@wptv.com, who is sharing her findings with health officials and local support group.
- The GBM of St. Lucie County support group Facebook page (you will need to request to join).
- Florida Department of Health in St. Lucie County’s Epidemiology Department at 772-462-3883
- The Brockovich team's database