As October draws to a close and the focus on Breast Cancer diminishes, I want to share a story I read that highlights one of the causes of breast cancer, not only in women, but also men.
According to Wikipedia, Trichloroethylene (TCE) became widely used in the 1920’s as anesthesia and then used in dry cleaning processes and most recently as a cleaning agent for metal parts. As with many liquid cleaning agents, rinsing with water and allowing the water run-off to enter the ground, drains or even collected in barrels and then emptied into creeks, streams or marshes has been a “customary” method of disposal for the majority.
Read the story and check out the links after the story for tips to reduce your risk of cancer, many of which will probably be new to you…
From Mike Partain and Jerry Ensminger:
My name is Mike. For the last four years I’ve been fighting male breast cancer. When I was diagnosed with this rare disease, I immediately questioned how this could have happened. I was 39 and had no history of disease in my family. I did not drink nor smoke. I had plenty of questions but no answers… until I met Jerry.
Jerry is a retired Marine. He and his family were stationed where I was born: Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune in North Carolina. Jerry’s daughter Janey was conceived on the base and at the age of 9 passed away from a rare form of leukemia. Jerry was left asking the same questions I was. Soon, we found more men like me and children like Janey – Marines, civilian workers and their families – all sick, all at Camp Lejeune. What began as a personal search ended by uncovering one of the largest incidents of drinking water contamination in U.S. history.
We discovered that the water at Camp Lejeune was contaminated with a toxic brew of industrial chemicals including trichloroethylene, or TCE, a known human carcinogen according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Despite repeated warnings, the Marine Corps leadership took no action to protect their Marines and their families. Worse yet, many still remain unaware of their exposures. Today, Camp Lejeune has the shameful distinction of being the largest male breast cancer cluster ever identified – 73 men – and families who lived and worked on base are suffering from various rare cancers, chronic diseases and birth defects.
We’ve been traveling the country calling attention to this catastrophe and urging for action on behalf of those made ill by toxic contaminants in Camp Lejeune’s water. That is why this month of October – Breast Cancer Awareness Month – is so important to us. Breast cancer, of course, is far more common among women than men – 100 times more common, according to the American Cancer Society. About 567 women are diagnosed with breast cancer every day in the U.S. compared to just 5 men.
So this October we’re working to heighten breast cancer awareness among women and men. We’re proud to be partnering with the filmmakers of the award-winning documentary Semper Fi: Always Faithful and the Environmental Working Group to share some resources that can help you and your family stay healthy.
Thank you for letting us share our story with you.
Check out these sources for more information on cancer and cancer prevention:
- Crazy Sexy Cancer, an irreverent and uplifting documentary about a young woman looking for a cure and finding her life.
- BreastCancer.org, a go-to resource for up-to-date information about breast cancer.
- Breast Cancer Fund’s website, which includes a terrific review of the connection between breast cancer and the environment.