Toxic water at Camp Lejeune caused breast cancer — in men

The toxic water contamination tragedy at Camp Lejeune is among the worst in U.S history. Between 1953-1987 people living or working at U.S. Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, North Carolina were exposed to contaminated water that has caused death, illness, and life-altering health conditions. One of the more unusual diseases to surface among Marine men stationed at Camp Lejeune is male breast cancer.

A rare disease for men

Breast cancer is extremely rare among men in the United States. According to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, the number of male breast cancer victims for every 1,000 total cases is less than seven. And it is even more rare in men with no history of cancer in their family. Such was the case of Mike Partain, who not only lived at Camp Lejeune as the son of a Marine, but was actually born there. Years later, after he was married with children and living in Florida, he went to the doctor to have a small, painless bump on his chest examined. It turned out to be breast cancer. What Mike didn't know then was that he was one of at least 85 men who had lived at Camp Lejeune between 1953-1987 and developed breast cancer: an astronomically high percentage that points to much more than coincidence.

The case of Joel

One of the more high profile cases of breast cancer in men is that of Colonel Joel Shriberg, a former marine stationed at Camp Lejeune during the 1950s. After he was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2004 - which has sense migrated to his left lung - Joel filed a federal lawsuit and is seeking $16.2 million in damages.  According to the lawsuit, Shriberg blames the poisonous water at the base - that he drank and bathed in - for his ailment. The former Marine's lawsuit goes on to condemn the Marine Corps for failing to protect the very men and women who vowed to serve and protect their country.