My name is Peter Devereaux. I live in North Andover, Massachusetts and I am currently 48 years old. I am one of the 73 men from Camp Lejeune Marine Corps Base in North Carolina with male breast cancer. This is one of the bases I served at while I was a United States Marine. So many men, women, and children have suffered unnecessarily due to the water contamination that they knew of and did nothing about. My breast cancer journey started on January 11, 2008. I woke up in the morning with a good-sized lump in my chest. At that point in my life I had no idea men could get breast cancer. I contacted my doctor and we set up the same test women usually get—a mammogram and an ultrasound followed by a core biopsy. The doctor called me to let me know that I had breast cancer. It was the first time I knew I had breasts. He called it invasive ductal carcinoma. He said it was an aggressive form of breast cancer. We then went for a second opinion at Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, Massachusetts. I ALWAYS RECOMMEND GETTING A SECOND OPINION. It just makes sense to me, when you are talking about such a serious illness. At that time, I had a mastectomy done to my left breast and 22 lymph nodes removed. They were all cancerous. When I met with my oncologist she let me know I would be in a fourteen-month program as well as a clinical trial. My doctors informed me of the severity of the disease, and that the probability of it coming back was high, which was why my treatment was going to be strong and long. I had 29 chemotherapy and 30 radiation appointments. I also was taking 4 Lapatinib pills daily as part of the clinical trial. I also took tamoxifen daily.
This whole journey has been humbling to say the least. It is such a weird ordeal not only to have cancer, but to also have a women’s cancer. I was scheduled to be done with treatment on April 8, 2009. On April 5th I started having shooting pain down my spine. Each day it got a little worse and when I contacted my doctors they scheduled a scan to find out what was going on. My cancer had traveled to my spine, rib and hip. Now it is called metastatic breast cancer. There is currently no cure for this type of cancer. They consider it a chronic disease. The average life expectancy is 2 to 3 years after diagnosis. This part is not cool for me. I am continuing to work on bringing education, awareness and research to male and metastatic breast cancer. I will never give up or give in. I continue to search for a cure. I am open to both conventional and alternative treatments. If you are ever looking for more information on male breast cancer at Camp Lejeune, you can go to the The Few, The Proud, The Forgotten website at www.tftptf.com.
SINCERELY PETER DEVEREAUX