Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

40 men from Camp Lejeune now report breast cancer

A Florida man with male breast cancer says he has now identified 39 other men with the rare disease who all share one thing: They lived at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina.

The numbers surprise scientists studying water contamination at the Marine Corps installation where up to a million Marines and family members may have been exposed to tainted water during 30 years ending in the late 1980s.

Among them are more than 12,000 Floridians who have signed up for a health survey.

"This is statistically unheard of," said Tallahassee resident Mike Partain, 41, a breast cancer survivor who was born at the base and is looking for others like himself. "We've got a cancer cluster that defies explanation."

The cluster is expected to be discussed Thursday when the U.S. Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs holds a hearing on contamination at U.S. military installations. A Marine Corps major general is expected to testify, as will Partain.

In addition, Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C., told the St. Petersburg Times on Tuesday that she is working to get the Senate Armed Services Committee to call a hearing on water contamination at Camp Lejeune.

"I'm not a scientist or a physician," Hagan said of the breast cancer numbers. "But that seems like a significant number to me."

The Times first reported in June that Partain had found nine other men with breast cancer and ties to Camp Lejeune. After that initial story, eight others stepped forward. The total climbed to 40 after CNN broadcast a report about the cancer cluster last month.

A man has just a 1-in-1,000 lifetime chance of getting male breast cancer. Only 1,900 a year are diagnosed with the disease.

"This definitely raises a few eyebrows," said Dr. John Kiluk, a breast cancer specialist at the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa. But Kiluk also noted it can be difficult to link a disease to environmental exposure.

He and other scientists agree more study is needed. Activists want a full epidemiology study.

"That does sound like a much higher number of male breast cancer cases than you would expect," said Dr. Ann Aschengrau, an epidemiologist at the Boston University School of Public Health who has called for a federal health study of Lejeune residents.

Aschengrau said she would expect no more than two male breast cancer cases in a population of 100,000 people. So if a million people were exposed, 20 cases might be expected, she said.

A Marine Corps spokesman declined to comment on the cancer cluster, saying epidemiologists were better qualified. But the spokesman noted the Marine Corps had spent $14.5 million on research initiatives regarding health issues.

William R. Levesque can be reached at levesque@sptimes.com or (813) 226-3432.

Related Links

40 men from Camp Lejeune now report breast cancer 10/06/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, October 7, 2009 11:44am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. What major sporting event could Tampa Bay land next?

    Lightning Strikes

    We are on quite a roll as a community. First, we had a Super Bowl drop from the storm clouds into our lap. It just reaffirms the fact that Tampa Bay is great at lap. And Monday it became official: Next year's NHL All-Star Game will be held at Amalie Arena. The best in the world will be here to shoot and score. And …

    MVP Wayne Gretzky is congratulated at the 1999 NHL All-Star game, the last time the event was in Tampa Bay. [DIRK SHADD   |   Times file]
  2. How the 2018 NHL All-Star Game reflects Jeff Vinik's vision for Tampa

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — There were several reasons the NHL announced Monday that Tampa will host the 2018 All-Star Game on Jan. 28.

    This was the  logo for the 1999 NHL All-Star game played Sunday, Jan 24, 1999 at the Ice Palace in Tampa Bay. (AP Photo)
  3. Photo gallery: Nation pays respects to America's war dead on Memorial Day

    Human Interest

    At Memorial Day ceremonies in Tampa Bay area and around the country, Americans paid tribute to the men and women who gave their lives in service to their country.

    Eight-year-old Piper St. Jean, of Tampa, uses a brush to clean the grave of her grandfather, Henry St. Jean, who served with the United States Air Force during the Korean and Vietnam wars. at Curlew Hills Memory Gardens on Monday moments after the conclusion of their 31st annual Memorial Day Service on Monday (5/23/17) in Palm Harbor. The event featured guest speakers, live choral performances by the Palm Harbor United Methodist Church choir and live music by Bones South, an area trombone ensemble with rhythm section. On Saturday local Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops placed flags on veterans???‚??„? graves prior to the event. This is an annual tradition of Curlew Hills' Memorial Day services and helps the Scout troops achieve merit badges. The event is free and the public is invited to attend.
  4. Protest sparks Texas lawmaker threats of gun violence

    National

    AUSTIN, Texas — Hundreds of protesters opposing Texas' tough new anti-"sanctuary cities" law launched a raucous demonstration from the public gallery in the Texas House on Monday, briefly halting work and prompting lawmakers on the floor below to scuffle — and even threaten gun violence — as tense …

  5. Photo gallery: 20 mugshots of pro athletes arrested in Florida - 1994 to 2017

    News

    In light of today's arrest of Tiger Woods in Jupiter, Florida on DUI charges, here are 20 booking mugs of professional athletes who have been arrested in Florida, from 1994 (Jennifer …

    Desmond Bryant - 2005 - Oakland Raiders defensive tackle Desmond Bryant was arrested in Miami on charges of criminal mischief after allegedly "going to a neighbor's house inebriated and causing a commotion."