Mason County News
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Cancer Survey
Wednesday, October 13, 2010 • Posted October 13, 2010

Dear Gerry,

I'm writing this letter in the hope that I can reach out to a lot of people at one time.

In 2008, I was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer, and my husband, Don, was later diagnosed with colon cancer. Since then, I have been overwhelmed by the number of people being diagnosed with cancer in Mason County. I can't help but wonder why a small community like Mason has had such high numbers. Even my cancer doctor has asked me what is going on in Mason.

In this small community, cancer does not discriminate! It has struck the very young all the way up to our senior citizens. Why?


I can tell you firsthand how cancer affects you and those you love, having seen what my own family and friends went through and struggle with, right alongside my husband and myself. My heart goes out to each and every person who has dealt with, or is dealing with, cancer.

However, cancer is no longer a death sentence. The medical profession is coming up with new ways to fight it every day, and that is where the citizens of Mason come in.

What I would like to know is if there is a common link we all share. Is it the water, or perhaps it's due to chemicals in our environment, or is it genetics?

I started doing some research and contacted the National Cancer Institute. I gave them some history about Mason and the large number of people that had been diagnosed with cancer, and was told that this is called a Cancer Cluster. The only difference is that in Mason, there have been many types of cancer, whereas a cluster is usually of the same type. The National Cancer Institute then decided to refer me to The Center of Disease Control and Prevention. When I spoke to them, they told me that I needed to gather as much information from survivors, people presently dealing with cancer, and families that have lost loved ones to cancer in Mason County. Once I receive this information, I will need to submit it to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention so they can review and see if there is a need to do a study here. By doing so, maybe they can supply us with some answers as to why we have such a high rate of cancer, and hopefully, find a way to slow it down or even stop it.

If possible, I need to gather information from as far back as ten years, and can only do this with the help of the citizens of Mason. It is my intention to submit this information to the Center of Disease Control and Prevention only. Any information you could share would be greatly appreciated. Below is a list of information I would need to gather.

1. You name, phone number and mailing address.

2. How long you have resided in Mason County.

3. What your age is now and at what year you were diagnosed.

4. What type of cancer you were diagnosed with.

5. Does cancer run in your family.

6. What part of Mason County do you live in.

7. What kind of work do you do, and are you also a farmer or rancher.

8. What kind of chemicals have you been in contact with, if any.

9. Did you grow up around any chemicals.

10. Did you grow up here, move away, and move back here in the last ten years.

11. Do you use tobacco now or have you used tobacco in the past.

I realize I'm asking for some very personal information, but it's my belief that we all deserve answers as to why so many of us are having to go through this, and with everyone's help, maybe we can find some of those answers. My hope is that we can gather enough information for the Center of Disease Control and Prevention to review and determine if they need to do some type of study in Mason County.

I don't know how long it will take, or even if they will discover anything helpful in this study, but it is my hope that they will be able to provide everyone touched by cancer in Mason with some type of explanation.

Please send your information to:

Karan Watson

PO Box 1045

Mason, TX 76856

or email:

Any information will be helpful.

Without a cause there is no prevention. Help me to find the cause for all of our cancer victims so we can have prevention for future generations.

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