Green Buckeye RN


CNN: Poisoned Patriots? Stricken Marines Seek Help With Illness
September 30, 2009, 8:26 am
Filed under: News

Fri September 25, 2009

TAMPA, Florida (CNN) — For Rick Kelly, the first sign of cancer was a feeling of discomfort in his chest.

Jim Fontella, diagnosed with cancer in 1998, was based at Camp Lejeune in 1966-67. Read his story in Part 1.
“My wife would hug me, and it became almost unbearable,” he said. “I went to a doctor, and they sent me to the oncologist, and they did biopsies on both sides. And then I ended up with a double mastectomy.”

Kelly is one of 20 retired U.S. Marines or sons of Marines who once lived at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, and who are now suffering from breast cancer, a disease that strikes about one man for every 100 women who get it. Each of the seven men CNN interviewed for this report has had part of his chest removed as part of his treatment, along with chemotherapy, radiation or both.

All 20 fear that water contaminated with high levels of toxic chemicals may have caused their illnesses, but the Marine Corps says no link has been found between the contamination and their diseases. Without that link, the men are denied treatment by the Department of Veterans Affairs, which says it can’t treat them for a condition that hasn’t been shown to have been “service-related.”  Watch “That’s when I was shocked” »

Kelly was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1998, 16 years after he served at Camp Lejeune. Now a single father of a 7-year-old boy and without health insurance, he filed a claim with the VA to help pay his medical bills.

Kelly said his VA representative told him, “It’s not the VA’s problem, it’s the Marine Corps’ problem.”

Read further at http://www.cnn.com/2009/HEALTH/09/25/marines.breast.cancer.folo/index.html

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