As if veterans exposed to Agent Orange needed another thing to worry
about, a new study published in the February issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery identifies a potential new connection between
certain types of skin cancers and exposure to Agent Orange.
This new study was led by Dr. Mark Clemens of The University of Texas
MD Anderson Cancer Center and it analyzed medical records from the
Veterans Affairs Hospital of Washington, D.C. The findings suggest that
veterans exposed to Agent Orange, and the contaminant dioxin, have twice
the rate of suffering invasive skin cancers. These cancers include
basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma. So far no evidence of
increased prevalence of melanoma has been proven.
The risk of skin cancer jumped to 73 percent to those veterans who
actively sprayed Agent Orange. Not surprisingly, lighter skin types and
those with lighter eyes demonstrated greater statistical risk. There
exists a dreaded dioxin-spawned skin condition called chloracne; and
these afflicted veterans show an 80 percent incident of invasive skin
cancer in the study.
As early as the mid 1980s several journals suggested this Agent
Orange and skin cancer association, but it has been largely ignored.
Clemens reportedly initiated this study after personally witnessing the
association first hand in his clinic.
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