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Peter Devereaux – Male Breast Cancer Survivor

Raising Awareness, Education About Early Detection of Male Breast Cancer

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Updated November 09, 2011

Peter Devereaux

Peter Devereaux

Photo © Fiona Devereaux
I heard from Peter Devereaux via the Survivor Story submission form, when he wrote in about starting treatment for male breast cancer. He learned about the disease quickly, even having a genetic done, so he would know if his daughter or sibling were at an increased risk for breast cancer. He was relieved to find out that he did not have the BRCA mutations. Peter is standing tough during his 14 months of treatment, and is looking forward to recovery.

Peter Devereaux has worked as a machinist and landscape artist. He is married to Fiona and they have a daughter, Jackie. He is determined to raise awareness and educate others about male breast cancer and the importance of early detection.

Peter's Male Breast Cancer Diagnosis
Age at diagnosis: 45
Diagnosed: January 16, 2008
Type of breast cancer: Invasive Ductal Carcinoma, HER2 Positive, estrogen receptor positive
Lymph Node Status: 22 nodes taken, all positive
Tumor Description: 4cm, Stage IIIB, grade III male breast cancer
Genetic Test: Negative for BRCA mutations
Treatments: mastectomy, chemotherapy, Herceptin, radiation, Tamoxifen
In treatment: Until April 8, 2009

Q: How did you find your lump, and how quickly was diagnosis made?
A: I was shocked. I woke up early for work as usual on Friday, January 11, 2008. My hand bumped into my chest and I felt a bump there. I called my wife later in the day to tell her about it. Then I met the doctor the next day -- he made an appointment for me on Monday for a mammogram and ultrasound. Tuesday they had me meet with the doctor and he took two core biopsies. Wednesday evening when I got home from work, my doctor told me that I had Invasive Ductal Carcinoma.

Q: How has treatment been going for you?
A: My treatment has been going well. I have great doctors and nurses and a great support team. As far as radiation goes, I've finished 6 weeks of treatments. I am currently receiving intravenous Herceptin treatments every 3 weeks because I am HER2 Positive. I am also in a clinical trial so I take 4 Lapatanib pills every morning. Lapatinib is going fairly well for me -– the main side effect is diarrhea. After the first week, 25% of the patients had to stop taking this drug, and most of the remaining patients went to a reduced dosage. I have stuck to the full dose for the duration of treatments. However, I haven't been able to work during treatments. Fortunately, my wife and daughter have been very supportive, as have my coworkers. After chemo and radiation, I will be taking Tamoxifen for 5 years.

Q: Tell me about your clinical trial and what treatments that includes.
A: I joined a clinical trial that I will be in until April 8, 2009; 14 months total in treatment. Here's my treatment plan:

  • 4 Adriamycin and Cytoxan chemotherapy infusions every 2 weeks
  • Lapatinib pills (4 daily)
  • 12 Weekly Herceptin and Taxol infusions
  • 13 Herceptin treatments every 3 weeks
  • 6 weeks of radiation
  • Tamoxifen daily for 5 years
Q: Is there any possible connection with Camp LeJeune?
A: I was a marine in the early eighties and stationed at Camp LeJeune, towards the end of the time that dry cleaning chemicals were being dumped into the water supply. There is a strong possibility that I could have gotten breast cancer from the water contamination there.

Q: Who has been your best support? How has this impacted you?
A: I am so lucky to have such great family, friends and coworkers who really have been so supportive. I think I wouldn't change anything if I could do it again. Don't smoke, do eat well, stay active, and try to get early detection. I really am trying to help educate people about early detection. Men are realizing that we too, can get breast cancer.

Want to Get Involved?
To help raise awareness or learn more about male breast cancer, visit the John W. Nick Foundation.

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