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Sep-17-2009 12:57printcomments

Male Breast Cancer: a Hard Bullet to Dodge for Marines at Camp Lejeune

"What the hell ever happened to Semper Fidelis?" -" Jerry Ensminger

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(CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C.) - Next week will be an important milestone for those fighting to bring recognition to the deadly toxic contamination at the Camp Lejeune Marine base in North Carolina.

CNN's Campbell Brown will air a two part story on Camp Lejeune Thursday and Friday night, September 24th and 25th, at 8:00 p.m. EST. The program will focus on the discovery of 22 men who either lived, worked or served aboard Camp Lejeune and now share an unusual and rare commonality, male breast cancer.

Twenty Two Men

For many it is altogether too late, but two of the contenders in this fight are seriously battle hardened and not likely to back down. They want justice and fairness and they want to see Marines and civilians affected by this toxic madness taken care of.

Career Marine Jerry Ensminger's daughter Janey, died from cancer in 1985. Jerry later learned was connected to the environmental contamination of the Camp Lejeune Marine Corps base.

Mike Partain is one of the men who won his battle with breast cancer. Like Jerry, he works tirelessly to bring recognition to the problems at Lejeune.

The Navy and Marines have tried to side step the issue for years. Recently, the federal government even assembled a team of government friendly scientists, the National Resource Council, who dismissed all of the scientific data tying Camp Lejeune to contaminants PCE (Perchloroethylene) and TCE (Trichloroethylene) and all of the health problems commonly associated with these degreasing chemicals.

Male Breast Cancer

Partain explains that the existence of these rare cancer clusters belies the Marine Corps' latest attempt to kill the Camp Lejeune issue through the NRC report which was released last June.

"If their craftily structured report from the NRC is correct, then why have we found 22 men with breast cancer whose only commonality is that we all were exposed to the toxic drinking water while at Camp Lejeune? We also know that male breast cancer is not the only rare cancer cluster we have seen at Camp Lejeune. This report will open a lot of eyes and generate questions that the Marine Corps does not wish to be asked. Our intent is not only to ask the questions, but to force them to provide honest answers!"

It seems like a lot to ask for. While some officials in the various government agencies have been very helpful, the overall message seems to be "bury the issue." But Mike Partain is a survivor, and he showed the world once that even the most challenging disease wasn't enough to silence him.

With a partner like career Marine Jerry Ensminger, Partain has all the muscle a two man team can muster. As Ensminger reminds us though, they are only the point men in a fight that affects hundreds of thousands, and possibly more.

"Now is our time to act. Once this report airs, it is imperative that everyone contact their respective U.S. Senators and use this opportunity to demand action. Ask your Senators to back Senator Richard Burr's 'Caring for Camp Lejeune Veterans Act of 2009' and for them to back Senator Kay Hagan and Burr's actions to get the truth from the Marine Corps."

Ensminger added, "Please spread the word and get as many people as you can in front of the TV set next Thursday and Friday!" "What the hell ever happened to Semper Fidelis?" Ensminger asked.

"What happened to 'We take care of our own?'"

Tim King is a former U.S. Marine with twenty years of experience on the west coast as a television news producer, photojournalist, reporter and assignment editor. In addition to his role as a war correspondent, this Los Angeles native serves as's Executive News Editor.
Tim spent the winter of 2006/07 covering the war in Afghanistan, and he was in Iraq over the summer of 2008, reporting from the war while embedded with both the U.S. Army and the Marines. Tim holds numerous awards for reporting, photography, writing and editing, including the Oregon AP Award for Spot News Photographer of the Year (2004), the first place Electronic Media Award in Spot News, Las Vegas, (1998), Oregon AP Cooperation Award (1991); and several other awards including the 2005 Red Cross Good Neighborhood Award for reporting. Serving the community in very real terms, is the nation's only truly independent high traffic news Website, affiliated with Google News and several other major search engines and news aggregators.
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Tom September 18, 2009 2:36 pm (Pacific time)

I had prostate cancer at age 43. Proscar/Avodart enlarged my breasts. I used TCE at Hughes. I hope Camp L and others using the water are using carbon filters by now. Should TCE exposed men be asking for some type of breast exam?

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