TABLE 6-1 Age Distribution of Vietnam-Era and Vietnam-Theater Male Veterans 2004–2005 (numbers in thousands)

Ages Group (Years)

Vietnam Era

Vietnam Theater

N

(%)

N

(%)

All ages

7,934

 

3,853

 

≤49

133

(1.6)

32

(0.1)

50–54

1,109

(13.8)

369

(9.4)

55–59

3,031

(37.6)

1,676

(43.1)

60–64

2,301

(28.5)

1,090

(28.0)

65–69

675

(8.4)

280

(7.2)

70–79

511

(6.3)

322

(8.3)

≥80

178

(2.2)

83

(2.1)

SOURCE: Table 3-3 (IOM, 1994), updated by 15 years.

sures of exposure, such as presence in a geographic locale when herbicides were used. As noted in Chapter 2, inaccurate assessment of exposure can obscure the relationship between exposure and disease.

Each section on a type of cancer opens with background information, including data on its incidence in the general US population and known or suspected risk factors. Cancer-incidence data on the general US population are included in the background material to provide a context for consideration of cancer risk in Vietnam veterans; the figures presented are estimates for the entire US population, however, not predictions for the Vietnam-veteran cohort. The incidence figures in this update are adapted to the demographic patterns defined by the 2000 US census data. The data reported are for 1998–2002, the most recent data set available (NCI, 2006). Incidence data are given for all races combined and separately for blacks and whites. The age range of 50–64 years now includes about 80 percent of Vietnam-era veterans, so incidences are presented for three 5-year age groups: 50–54 years, 55–59 years, and 60–64 years. The data were collected for the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) program of the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health and are categorized by sex, age, and race, all of which can have profound effects on risk. For example, the incidence of prostatic cancer is about 4.3 times as high in men who are 60–64 years old than in men 50–54 years old; it is about twice as high in blacks 50–64 years old as in whites in the same age group (NCI, 2006). Many factors can influence incidence, including behavior (such as tobacco and alcohol use and diet), genetic predisposition, and medical history. Those factors can make someone more or less likely than the average to contract a given kind of cancer; they also need to be taken into account in epidemiologic studies of the possible contributions of the compounds of interest.

The body of each section on a specific type of cancer includes a summary of the findings described in the previous Agent Orange reports: Veterans and



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