Women wonder: cancer cluster in SE Portland?

Jacki Sturkie, left, and Sari Prevost are among nine in the Abernethy neighborhood of Northeast Portland who are battling cancer, May 15, 2013 (KOIN 6 News)
Jacki Sturkie, left, and Sari Prevost are among nine in the Abernethy neighborhood of Northeast Portland who are battling cancer, May 15, 2013 (KOIN 6 News)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Jacki Sturkie and Sari Prevost live blocks apart from each other. They were diagnosed with breast cancer within weeks of each other and they share the same physicians.

While going through chemotherapy together, they noticed similarities with other women in the neighborhood.

Over the past three years, nine women who live within a one-mile radius in the Abernethy neighborhood of Southeast Portland were diagnosed with breast cancer, six in the past 18 months. All the women are in their early- to mid-40s, all have children and most of them attend Abernethy Elementary.

“Every time I hear of another mom it’s so horrible,” Sturkie told KOIN 6 News. “The kids are scared, the moms are scared, and there’s a lot of conversations happening with the kids saying, ‘Well, my mom doesn’t have any hair.’ And to have another kid say, ‘Well, my mom doesn’t either,’ it’s really not supposed to be this way.”

Sturkie and Prevost told their doctors and plan to notify the Oregon State Health Department to look into the similarities and determine if there is a common factor.

The Oregon Health Authority’s Cancer Registry researches possible clusters in the community. The majority of their investigations don’t show a common origin. Most happen by chance and are unrelated.

But the health officials said the similarities are worth investigating.

Inside KOIN.com:

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