SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Fighting breast cancer

October 31, 2012

Former Marine battling breast cancer

PEABODY — Peter Devereaux didn’t even know men could get breast cancer.

So when his doctor called to give him the news, Devereaux thought he had called him by mistake.

“I said, ‘Doc, it’s Peter Devereaux,’” he said, thinking his doctor would apologize and hang up.

He didn’t, and within days Devereaux was back at the hospital, getting a bone scan and chest X-ray to see how far the cancer had spread within his body.

A Peabody native and North Andover resident, Devereaux, 50, was diagnosed with stage 3B invasive ductal carcinoma in January 2008. For the past 41/2 years, he has been battling the disease, which doctors discovered had spread to his hips, ribs and spine in 2009.

He is one of 82 men who have been diagnosed with male breast cancer believed to have been caused by water contamination at Camp Lejeune, a Marine Corps base in North Carolina.

“It’s the largest cluster ever recorded,” Devereaux said.

Devereaux signed up for the Marines after graduating from Peabody High School in 1980. He served until December 1984, and in that time spent 16 months at Camp Lejeune.

“On average, you’re 19 years old in the service, you work out like crazy, you work hard, you’re drinking water by the quarts,” he said. “None of us knew about the contaminated water.”

In 2008, Devereaux said he received a letter telling him he may have come in contact with contaminated water. By then, however, he had already found a lump in his chest.

After his diagnosis, Devereaux underwent a mastectomy followed by numerous rounds of chemotherapy and radiation. Doctors removed 22 cancerous lymph nodes.

“It makes you appreciate a lot of things in a hurry,” he said.

In 2009, after he began experiencing shooting pain up his spine, doctors discovered that his cancer had metastasized. He’s still fighting, currently undergoing chemotherapy to beat the cancer.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Fighting breast cancer
Local News

Local News
  • Salem's Collins seeks longer day

    SALEM -- Collins Middle School may look a little different next year. For starters, longtime Principal Mary Manning, who has headed the school for more than 20 years, is retiring and will be replaced by a new, yet-unnamed principal. More than that, t

    April 19, 2014 6 Stories

  • 140418_SN_KYU_WALK_2 Walking the Walk BEVERLY -- Four hundred thirty walkers, 10.5 miles and $65,000. Those are the numbers you can count on just about every year from the Good Friday Walk. The 35th annual walk produced those figures once again yesterday, with the money going to help nee

    April 19, 2014 2 Photos

  • Marblehead chief charts drop in crime MARBLEHEAD -- Police chief Robert Picariello has highlighted an overall drop in crime from 2012 to 2013 in his annual report to the town. The decrease was substantial in the category of crimes against persons, down 23 percent for incidents like rape,

    April 19, 2014

  • North Shore residents to run in 2014 Boston Marathon

    The Salem News asked those on the North Shore who are running this year's Boston Marathon to share their reasons for running. 

    If you're running the marathon this year, it's not too late to share why you're running. Send a brief paragraph, a photo of yourself and a link to your fundraising site (if applicable) to Cheryl Richardson at crichardson@salemnews.com.

    April 17, 2014

  • One-way school bus passes to get trial run in Peabody PEABODY -- Students will be able to ride the school bus one way next year without paying the price of a round-trip fare. The School Committee has agreed to offer one-way passes on a trial basis following review of transportation data and a proposal f

    April 19, 2014