Men and women in the armed forces have lower rates of most cancers — except breast cancer, that is. Breast cancer is affecting not only women in the armed forces at alarming rates, but male service members and veterans as well. The Military Times reports:
“Military people in general, and in some cases very specifically, are at a significantly greater risk for contracting breast cancer,” says Dr. Richard Clapp, a top cancer expert at Boston University. Clapp, who works for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on military breast cancer issues, says life in the military can mean exposure to a witch’s brew of risk factors directly linked to greater chances of getting breast cancer.
Indeed, in a 2009 study, doctors at Walter Reed Army Medical Center found that breast cancer rates among military women are “significantly higher” — that military women are 20 percent to 40 perecent more likely to get the disease than other women in the same age groups.
Researchers point to a higher use of oral contraception — also linked to breast cancer — among military women as a possible culprit.
“Military women are also more likely to be engaged in industrial jobs than females in the general population and hence potentially more likely to be exposed to chemicals that may be related to breast cancer,” researchers wrote in the study.
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