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Study Links Agent Orange to Prostate Cancer in Vietnam Vets
Date:8/6/2008

But some researchers say the finding fails to establish cause-and-effect

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 6 (HealthDay News) -- Vietnam veterans exposed to the defoliant Agent Orange have a significantly greater risk of prostate cancer, especially the most aggressive form of the disease, a new study contends.

The findings are the first to connect the now-banned herbicide with this form of cancer, the researchers said.

"Veterans that were exposed to Agent Orange during the Vietnam War have a twofold higher risk of prostate cancer," said study lead author Dr. Karim Chamie, a resident physician in urology at the University of California, Davis, Department of Urology and the VA Northern California Health Care System. "The cancer they get tends to be more aggressive, a higher grade, and is more likely to spread or have spread at the time that they present to their urologist."

"A lot of veterans don't get their care through the VA [Veterans Administration]," Chamie added. "This message needs to go out to their physicians and their urologist in the private community to know that this is a large risk factor."

But some scientists not involved with the study said the research does not prove a cause-and-effect relationship between Agent Orange and prostate cancer.

For the study, Chamie's team collected data on 13,144 Vietnam veterans, including 6,214 men exposed to Agent Orange between 1962 and 1971.

The researchers found that twice as many veterans exposed to Agent Orange had developed prostate cancer, compared with veterans not exposed to the now-banned chemical.

Moreover, men exposed to Agent Orange were diagnosed with prostate cancer two-and-a-half years younger than unexposed men. And, they were four times more likely to be diagnosed with metastatic disease, the researchers found.

The findings were published online Monday in Cancer and were expected to be published in the Sept. 1
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