Skip to content
Font Size

Agent Orange Tied to Lethal Prostate Cancer

Findings from U.S. veterans should raise awareness of chemical warfare's hazards, researcher says

WebMD News from HealthDay

By Robert Preidt

HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, May 13 (HealthDay News) -- A link exists between exposure to Agent Orange and deadly forms of prostate cancer in U.S. veterans, according to a new study.

Agent Orange was a chemical spray that was heavily used during the Vietnam War era. It was often contaminated with dioxin, a potentially cancer-causing chemical. Previous research suggests that exposure to Agent Orange increases the risk of prostate cancer, but it wasn't known if it specifically increases the risk of more dangerous forms of the disease.

In this study, researchers looked at more than 2,700 U.S. veterans who underwent a prostate biopsy. Prostate cancer was diagnosed in 33 percent of the veterans, including 17 percent with high-grade disease, according to the study, which was published online May 13 in the journal Cancer.

Exposure to Agent Orange was linked with a 52 percent increase in overall prostate cancer risk, a 75 percent increased risk of high-grade prostate cancer and a more than doubled risk of the deadliest forms of the disease.

The findings suggest that determining veterans' exposure to Agent Orange can help identify those who may be at increased risk for prostate cancer, leading to earlier detection and treatment, said Dr. Mark Garzotto, of the Portland Veterans Administration Medical Center and Oregon Health & Science University, and colleagues.

"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.

Today on WebMD

man with doctor
Symptoms, risks, treatments
man coughing
Men shouldn’t ignore
 
prostate cancer cells
What does this diagnosis mean?
doctor and male patient
Is it worth it?
 
cancer fighting foods
SLIDESHOW
15 Cancer Symptoms Men Ignore
FEATURE
 
Prostate Enlarged
VIDEO
Picture Of The Prostate
ANATOMY
 
Prostate Cancer Quiz
QUIZ
screening tests for men
SLIDESHOW
 
Prostate Cancer Symptoms
VIDEO
Vitamin D
SLIDESHOW