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Pentagon assesses cancer risks for US pilots — RT World News

Study finds military aircrew suffer from high rates of melanoma and other cancers

US military airmen contract various forms of cancer much more frequently than Americans in general, a long-awaited Pentagon study has found, confirming the suspicions of pilots and surviving family members who had long suggested that their rates of disease and mortality seemed unusually high.

The survey, which was reported by media on Sunday, found that overall cancer rates were 24% higher than normal for aircrew members who served between 1992 and 2017. Rates were 87% higher than the average for melanoma and 39% higher for thyroid cancer. . Male pilots and aircrew face a 16% higher rate of prostate cancer, while female aircrew veterans have a 16% higher rate of breast cancer.

The multi-year study, which was based on the health outcomes of nearly 900,000 service members, also found that ground crew members had elevated risks of various types of cancer, including a 19% higher rate of cancers of the brain, a 15% higher rate of thyroid cancers and a 9% higher rate of kidney or kidney cancers. The Pentagon acknowledged that its assessment likely underestimated cancer cases because its data was unreliable for previous generations of pilots.

Congress ordered the large study in 2021, after years of lobbying by former military pilots and family members who had suspected for years that exposure to potential carcinogens in jet fuels, radar systems and other possible dangers was killing many veterans. Now that the initial review has confirmed high cancer rates, a second phase of the study will examine possible reasons.

A smaller study completed in 2021 only looked at US Air Force pilots and compared their cancer rates to those of military personnel in general. The review, which looked at nearly 35,000 pilots and aircrew who served between 1970 and 2004, found that testicular, prostate and skin cancer rates were 23-30% higher than normal. . The pilots who flew the F-100 Super Saber, America’s first supersonic fighter aircraft, were “more likely to be diagnosed and die from colon and rectal, pancreatic, melanoma, skin, prostate and brain cancers”, said the previous evaluation.

The latest study came to light after the US Air Force last month launched an investigation into cancer risks for service members who worked in US nuclear missile silos. Preliminary examination showed high rates of lymphoma among missiles working at Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana.

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