Mike Partain

For the first thirty-nine years of my life Camp Lejeune was nothing more to me than a faded name printed on my birth certificate. We are a Marine family. My father is a Naval Academy Graduate and served in the Marine Corps as an officer. My grandfather retired in 1961 as a major in the Marine Corps.

This all changed in April of 2007 after my wife gave me a hug before bed one night. As she did, her hand came across a curious bump situated above my right nipple. There was no pain but if felt very odd. At first, I dismissed the bump as a cyst that would go away, but after a few weeks it persisted. My wife then insisted that I go see our family doctor. As I sat in the waiting room waiting for my doctor I was not worried. The idea of cancer never entered my mind. Why should it? I do not drink, I do not smoke, nor have I ever abused drugs. I thought I was a healthy 39-year-old man. Doctor Perry came into the room and looked me over. He advised that he wanted me to have a mammogram. I paused and asked him to repeat his request as a tinge of fear spread down my spine. He told me that he was unsure what the bump was and it had best be safe to have it checked. I felt reassured and made the appointment for the following week.

Jim Fontella

My name is Jim Fontella. I'm a former Marine and I am one of the seventy-three men diagnosed with male breast cancer after being exposed to the contaminated drinking water at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune (MCBCL). I was stationed at Lejeune from February of 1966 through April of 1967. I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1998 at the age of 52. A year and a half later, the cancer spread to my cervical spine, destroying my C2 vertebrae and breaking it in two places. My oncologist said that my future was grim, informing me that most people only live one to two years after the cancer metastasizes. In December of 2008 Mike Partain contacted me and told me that I was the eighth person he found that was stationed on the base and had been diagnosed with breast cancer. Even though we were only 8, I still felt this was unusual.

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