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Agent Orange linked to skin cancer risk, reports Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery
Date:1/28/2014

Philadelphia, Pa. (January 28, 2014) Vietnam War veterans with prior exposure to the herbicide Agent Orange may be at higher risk for certain types of skin cancer, suggests a report in the February issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, the official medical journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS).

The study adds to previous evidence that risk of non-melanotic invasive skin cancer (NMISC) is increased even four decades after Agent Orange exposure, with at least some exposed veterans having unusually aggressive non-melanoma skin cancers. The lead author was ASPS Member Surgeon Dr. Mark W. Clemens of The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and colleagues.

Skin Cancers Present in About Half of Vets Exposed to Agent Orange

During the Vietnam War, Agent Orange was widely used as herbicide and jungle defoliant. It has been linked to a wide range of cancers and other diseases, caused by the highly toxic dioxin contaminant TCDD. "TCDD is among the most carcinogenic compounds ever to undergo widespread use in the environment," according to Dr. Clemens and coauthors. Veterans Affairs recognizes and provides benefits for certain cancers and health problems associated with prior dioxin exposure during military service, however skin cancer is currently not one of them.

The researchers analyzed medical records of 100 consecutive men who enrolled in the Agent Orange registry at the Veterans Affairs Hospital of Washington, DC, between August 2009 and January 2010. Exposure to TCDD consisted of living or working in contaminated areas for 56 percent of veterans, actively spraying Agent Orange in 30 percent, and traveling in contaminated areas for 14 percent. The study was limited to men with lighter skin types.

The rate of NMISC in TCDD-exposed veterans was 51 p
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Contact: Connie Hughes
Connie.Hughes@wolterskluwer.com
646-674-6348
Wolters Kluwer Health
Source:Eurekalert

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