12 teachers diagnosed with breast cancer in last decade at same school, staff says

A dozen teachers from an Iowa-area school say they have been diagnosed with breast cancer within the last 10 years. (Source: KCRG)
Published: Sep. 16, 2022 at 6:31 PM AKDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG/Gray News) - A dozen teachers from a small Eastern Iowa school say they have been diagnosed with breast cancer within the last decade.

KCRG reports the teachers are now questioning whether something in the building or environment is causing cancer.

The Hudson School District employs around 130 people in Black Hawk County.

“People just were kind of talking and realizing there has been quite a number,” said Carol Menefee, a teacher at Hudson Elementary School.

Menefee has taught at Hudson for 30 years. In that time, she’s battled cancer twice — first, breast cancer in 2009 and non-Hodgkin’s follicular lymphoma in 2016.

“We were all kind of in that elementary school building for many years,” said Diane Anderson, a former teacher at Hudson.

Anderson said she was diagnosed with breast cancer two years ago after working in the district for more than three decades.

“It doesn’t appear to be genetic, so it’s coming from something else,” Anderson said.

Anderson and Menefee said their cancer is in remission, but some staff members are still undergoing treatment, and one has died.

“This is not about us; it’s about helping other people and being proactive,” Anderson said.

The district said it plans to participate in a cancer cluster investigation through the University of Iowa.

“We wrap our arms around these people and say, what can we do for you? They said this is what you can do, and we’re going to do it,” said Hudson School District Superintendent Tony Voss.

The teachers said they know it’s going to be hard to prove, but they want to know if there is a common denominator in the facilities that possibly contributed to the cancer cases.

Staff said the school is like a family. They’ve supported one another through multiple cancer diagnoses and plan to support each other in finding answers.