Researchers want to know what may be causing a rare eye cancer in two states. Ocular melanoma is an extremely rare form of cancer, usually found in just six of every one million people. But it has been identified in a group of 18 patients in Huntersville, North Carolina, and in a second group in Auburn, Alabama, some of whom were friends who’d attended Auburn University together.
Juleigh Green was diagnosed first: at age 27, she saw odd flashes of light.
“He said, ‘There’s a mass there, there’s something there, I don’t know what it is, but it looks like it could be, you know, a tumor,'” Green said. “It’s like you had the breath knocked out of you, you know?”
In 2001, it was her college friend Allison Allred, 31 at the time. “I was just seeing some mild flashes of light for, say, 7 to 10 days,” Allred said.
A doctor told her she had a detached retina, but then, “He said, ‘Well, it’s detached because there’s a 10-millimeter melanoma sitting on it.'”
Both women had to have an eye removed. Then their friend Ashley McCrary found black spots in her iris. It was the same rare cancer.
“What’s crazy is literally standing there, I was like, ‘Well, I know two people who’ve had this cancer,” said McCrary.
“And did you understand then how strange that was?” asked CBS News correspondent Anna Werner.
“No. No, I didn’t.”