CNN’s Abbie Boudreau and Scott Bronstein investigated a possible link between male breast cancer and contaminated drinking water provided at the Marine training base at Camp Lejeune between the ’60s and the mid-’80s. Twenty male Marines with breast cancer have found that the only thing they have in common is drinking the water at Lejeune, but, Boudreau and Bronstein report, “two independent studies have found no link between water contamination and later illnesses, according to the Marine Corps.”
The reports talked to seven of the cancer-afflicted men, finding that neither the VA nor the Marine Corps will pay for their cancer treatments, citing in at least one case that the cancer “neither occurred in nor was caused by service.”
The men with breast cancer are among about 1,600 retired Marines and Camp Lejeune residents who have filed claims against the federal government. According to congressional investigators, they are seeking nearly $34 billion in compensation for health problems they say stemmed from drinking water at the base that was contaminated with several toxic chemicals, including some the federal government has classified as known or potential cancer-causing agents.
In a blog post about the piece, Boudreau discusses questions raised by her research on unproven links between Lejuene water and cancer, openly wondering if the connection will ever be conclusively proven to be either true or false.