In the last 16 years, three people on the San Diego State University campus succumbed to a rare form of brain cancer. They all worked in the same room. Randy Dotinga investigated what some are calling a “cancer cluster” for voiceofsandiego.org. Dotinga also answered frequently asked questions about the situation and cancer clusters in general.
School officials aren’t investigating the cluster, Dotinga said. According to Dotinga’s story, “those who study cancer clusters say there’s a good chance that nothing is wrong. Suspicious statistics, they say, are sometimes just a random fluke.”
The room, NH 131 in Nasatir hall, is currently used by graduate students as a meeting and study area.
With the exception of workplaces like factories and mines, “our batting average as epidemiologists in explaining cancer clusters. … has been very poor,” said Dr. Raymond Neutra, former chief of the state Division of Environmental & Occupational Disease Control.
Still, faculty members want more action. “I’m certainly not panicked about it, but we think questions should be asked,” said Brian Adams, an associate professor of political science. “With that high of a number (of cancer cases), dismissing it as being a likely coincidence probably isn’t the wisest path.”
The two professors in question, aged 69 and 49, and the graduate student, 26, all spent time in the room and developed cases of glioblastoma multiforme brain cancer, The Daily Aztec student newspaper reported Monday. Another professor who worked in the room is said to be suffering from another kind of brain cancer.