SARASOTA, Fla. (AP) -- A 76-year-old former Marine has spent the last 10 years battling cancer and the federal government.

Tom Gervasi of Sarasota believes he contracted a rare and aggressive form of breast cancer after drinking contaminated water at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina -- where he trained in the mid-1950s.

Federal officials say a known human cancer-causing material likely first exceeded the maximum contaminant level in August 1953, and evidence shows it might go back as far as November 1948.

In January, a federal agency tentatively set 1953 as the starting date for the contamination in Lejeune's residential area. A law passed last year granted health care and screening to Lejeune Marines and their dependents between 1957 and 1987.

Gervasi's requests for compensation have been rejected twice.

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