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Frisco Families Frustrated By Rare Cancer

By Stephanie Lucero, CBS 11 News
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FRISCO (CBSDFW.COM) – Families in Frisco say they want to know why there’s a growing number of rare cancer cases in their neighborhood.  They live in the area bordered by Highway 121 on the south, Hillcrest on the west, Coit Road on the east and Main Street on the north.

“I want to find the cause and the reason” says Kerri Steele, 34, the wife of Will Steele, who was diagnosed in April with Desmoplastic Small Round Cell Tumor, or D.S.R.C.T., a rare and aggressive form of Sarcoma Cancer.

20-year-old Joffrey Swieczkowski, lives 1.3 miles from the Steele’s and he has the same type of cancer.  “I’m not exactly sure how the future’s going to work out now so it kind of changes your perspective on things and exactly what you want to do with your life” says Swieczkowski.

Three other people who live in the same neighborhood have also reportedly been diagnosed with rare forms of Sarcoma Cancer.  Marty Sandoval, 46, has been diagnosed with melanocytic schwannoma but he says he’s lucky.  “It hasn’t invaded any of my vital organs so far” he says.

Family members say they’ve contacted state and federal agencies and urged them to test to see if environmental factors could be the cause.

“It’s not really on anybody’s priority list.  It’s not been on a list at this point” says Michael Swieczkowski, Joffrey’s father.  “So in speaking out maybe we can get someone to take notice and get someone to start looking into is there anything environmentally that contributes to this?” he says.

State health officials say only three to eight cases of DSRCT are reported in the state registry each year.  A spokesperson for the Texas Department of State Health Services in Austin says doctors are asked to report cases of cancer to the registry but they have up to six months to do so.

Frisco Mayor Maher Maso sent a letter to state health officials today asking that they look at news reports of “Suspicion of a Pattern of Cancer.”  In the letter the Mayor says “I am requesting that you examine this information and provide me with what your agency’s action plan, and timeline, will be to thoroughly investigate this matter.”

When asked whether the city of Frisco would initiate any testing, city spokesperson Dana Baird replied “the City of Frisco has reported these concerns to the appropriate state and federal agencies which have the responsibility, resources and authority to deal with these issues.”

“Someone have mercy and come out here and do some testing, like tomorrow” says Kerri Steele.  “I just want to know if it’s something (in the environment) an if it’s not then I’m really happy about that, that other people aren’t being affected by toxins.”

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