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My name is Mike Partain and I was diagnosed with male breast cancer on April 25, 2007. Earlier that month my wife gave me a hug that saved my life. Her hand went over a lump that was located over my right nipple. At first I thought it was a cyst, but after 2 weeks it was still there and I went to my family physician. My doctor recommended a mammogram. The results of the mammogram were troubling and I was scheduled for a biopsy a few days later. I was diagnosed with male breast cancer on the same day as my eighteenth wedding anniversary.My diagnosis left me confused and troubled. I was at a loss to explain where or how I developed the disease. I do not drink nor do I smoke. It is very rare in men. Less than 1% of the total 200,000 yearly breast cancers are in men.
Of those who contract the disease, most of them are between the ages of 60 and 70. Male breast cancer is strongly associated with hereditary breast cancer. I am 39 years old. I am BRCA 1 and 2 negative for hereditary breast cancer. Cancer of any kind is rare in my family. I was conceived, carried and born at Camp Lejeune Marine Corps Base NC. My father is a Naval Academy Graduate and was stationed at the base from April of 1967 until May 1968. My parents resided at the base and were housed at 3374 Haggaru Rd. in Tarawa Terrace. The entire time my mother was pregnant with me, she was provided water that was highly contaminated with volatile organic compounds.
After my surgery, my father saw a report on CNN concerning Congressional hearings on the contamination of the base water supply. Specifically, the compounds are known as PCE (Tetracholorethylene) and TCE (Tricholorethylene). These chemicals were the basis of another similar contamination story detailed in the movie and book "A Civil Action". They are degreasers and were used by the Marines on base as well as an off base dry cleaner (PCE only), then disposed of on or in the ground. The chemicals made it into the base water supply system and were supplied to base housing via finished tap water from sometime in the 1950’s until 1987.
The cancer appeared in my right breast. I underwent a mastectomy on May 4th, 2007. The tumor was 2.5Cm and 1 lymph node was taken. Thankfully, there appears to be no metastases at this point. My parents were never contacted by the Marine Corps to advise us of the contamination at the time of my birth.
I completed Chemo-Therapy November 6th 2007. I am looking for other male breast cancer cases in men who either were conceived and/or born, lived, or served at Camp Lejeune NC. Since last fall, I have found 15 other men who developed the disease after their exposure to the water at the base. One man in particular lived in the same subdivision at the same time I was born. He was diagnosed with MBC 3 years ago at the age of 47.
I recently joined the CAP (Community Assistance Panel) for ATSDR for Camp Lejeune. The panel works with the military, the scientists, and affected community members to identify and study those who were affected. There I met an epidemiologist from Boston University. Dr. Clapp stated they had seen male breast cancer cases at prior PCE/TCE contamination sites located at Woburn and Cape Cod Massachusetts.Please feel free to contact me at email@example.com anytime.
Sincerely, Mike Partain
There are over 100 men with male breast cancer from Camp Lejuen.