Study: Agent Orange Associated with Increased Risks for Deadly Prostate Cancer

Agent_Orange_CancerA new study reveals a link between the dangerous toxin, Agent Orange, and prostate cancer.

The study specifically found that the link was seen in United States veterans, which is not surprising because Agent Orange, a chemical spray, was used a great deal during the Vietnam War era, and was often contaminated with dioxin, according to US News/HealthDay News.

Dioxins are very toxic and ubiquitous compounds that are significant environmental pollutants, which can lead to reproductive and developmental problems, damage to the immune system, hormone interference, and cancer. The chemical could also be contributing to the growing and alarming issues surrounding bacterial resistance.

Prior research has suggested that Agent Orange exposure increases prostate cancer risks. What was not known was if Agent Orange increased risks for the more deadly forms of prostate cancer, according to US News/HealthDay News.

For this study the researchers reviewed more than 2,700 U.S. veterans who underwent a prostate biopsy. In 33 percent of the veterans, prostate cancer was diagnosed, including 17 percent who were diagnosed with high-grade disease, according to the study, which was published online May 13 in the journal Cancer, according to US News/HealthDay News. In fact, Agent Orange exposure was associated with a 52 percent increased risk in overall prostate cancer, a 75 percent increased risk of high-grade prostate cancer, and a more that two-fold risk of the deadliest forms of prostate cancer.

The study findings suggest, that understanding veterans’ exposure to Agent Orange may help identify veterans who may be at increased risks for developing prostate cancer, which can, in turn, lead to earlier detection and treatment, Dr. Mark Garzotto, of the Portland Veterans Administration Medical Center and Oregon Health & Science University, and colleagues wrote, according to US News/HealthDay News, “It also should raise awareness about potential harms of chemical contaminants in biologic agents used in warfare and the risks associated with waste handling and other chemical processes that generate dioxin or dioxin-related compounds,” Garzotto said in a journal news release.

We previously wrote that a group advocating for the health of U.S. military veterans and their families launched a campaign to call attention to the birth defects suffered by those service members.

According to a prior statement from Birth Defect Research for Children (BDRC), there are a growing number of children born into military families who believe the birth defects they, their siblings, or children suffered were the result of the dangerous and toxic chemicals those service members and their families have been exposed to while serving in combat or while living on U.S. military bases.

We’ve reported for years on the birth defects and other health complications—including possible cancer clusters—among U.S. military families and U.S. bases. Some bases were built or are positioned close to facilities or areas that handle or dispose of toxic chemicals like Agent Orange.

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