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J Occup Environ Med. 1997 Aug;39(8):740-7.

A case-control study of lung cancer among Vietnam veterans.

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  • 1Environmental Epidemiology Service, Department of Veterans Affairs, Washington, DC, USA.


Because of concerns among veterans over Agent Orange exposure, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has conducted a series of studies of specific cancers among Vietnam veterans. Lung cancer is the topic of investigation in this report. The VA's Patient Treatment File (PTF) was used to identify 329 Vietnam era veterans with a diagnosis of lung cancer made between 1983 and 1990. The PTF is a computerized hospitalized database of inpatient records, including patients' demographic data, and diagnoses. A record is created for each patient discharged from any one of the VA's Medical Centers. Variables abstracted from the military record include education, race, branch of service, Military Occupational Specialty Code, rank, and units served within Vietnam. Two hundred sixty-nine controls were randomly selected from the PTF file of men hospitalized for a reason other than cancer. A second control group numbering 111 patients with colon cancer was also selected from the PTF file. Data were also gathered on exposure to Agent Orange through the location of each individual ground troop veteran's unit in relation to an area sprayed and the time elapsed since that area was sprayed. The crude odds ratio between service in Vietnam and lung cancer was of borderline significance (odds ratio = 1.39 with 95% confidence interval = 1.01-1.92). The relationship disappeared when the confounder year of birth was considered. We conclude from these data that there is no evidence of increased risk in lung cancer associated with service in Vietnam at this time.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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