Self-reported Agent Orange exposure was more prevalent among patients with thyroid cancer compared with the overall national Veterans Affairs patient population, study results show.
Angela M. Leung, MD, MSc, assistant professor of medicine in the division of endocrinology at UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine and VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System, and colleagues evaluated data from all U.S. Veterans Health Administration health care sites from October 1999 to 2013 to determine the characteristics of patients with thyroid cancer in relation to Agent Orange exposure. Overall, 19,592 patients with thyroid cancer were included in the study.
During the study period, the prevalence rates of thyroid cancer among veterans was 0.09% for women and 0.098% for men.
Compared with the non-exposed veteran population (6.2%), more veterans self-reported Agent Orange exposure (10%; P < .0001). A history of ionizing radiation was reported by 0.54% of patients with thyroid cancer.
“The study, as the first epidemiologic assessment of thyroid cancer among veterans at the national level, utilizes the [Veterans Health Administration’s] single integrated medical record system and suggests that Agent Orange should be further studied in relationship to thyroid cancer,” the researchers wrote. “Additional research regarding the strength and consistency of this association may lead to a better understanding of the potential relationship between Agent Orange exposure and thyroid cancer within this population.”