Why are breast cancer rates so high among US troops?

In Marine Times, a Gannett newspaper targeting people in the Marine Corps and their families, an article for "Pinktober" (pink-ribbonny breast cancer awareness month, bleargh) about the high rate of breast cancer among men and women in the military. There are a number of theories as to why the breast cancer rates are so high, and a cluster of the disease affecting males at Camp Lejeune are a particularly vexing science mystery. "Researchers with the CDC are preparing a study that will try to determine whether contaminated drinking water at the Marine Corps’ largest base on the East Coast caused dozens of male Marines, sailors and family members to get breast cancer." Read more: Alarming breast cancer rates among troops (Marine Corps Times). Mother Jones covered this in a recent issue, also.


      1. Well. If it’s near-enough pure U-238, it’s got a long halflife and comparably low activity. I’d still not wear a DU bracelet, but as radioactive metals go it’s rather low-key.

  1. Spent uranium might be one cause but really US Military bases are well known to be contaminated with all kinds of stuff. Camp Lejeune (mentioned above) had a long known and unaddressed issue with the ground water being contaminated with Trichloroethylene which is a cancer causing chemical.

  2. per the Marine Corps Times article, oral contraceptives are singled out as the risk factor for women, and for the men?  Well, for them the suggested risk factor is exposure to environmental carcinogens.  Why does this really bother me to no end?

    btw-my family would like to thank the bb powers that be for the truncated feed, it appears I am now spending more quality time with them ; )

    1. I recently read an article explaining that mothers of boys could keep some of their son’s DNA in their brain, and that it could help them against beast cancer http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/250786.php
      It is not proved yet, but if it’s true, i guess we could say that women soldiers have less kids than others, and so they have more breast cancer…
      That, and uranium in weapons.

  3. I wonder if the higher rate of cancer is due to better detection? Because there is health care for all the military maybe they are finding more problems that sometimes stay hidden in the rest of the population?

    1. It’s not just “having healthcare” — military personnel obviously spend more *time* going through healthcare for all sorts of “employment hazards”. If you have to take a scan to make sure the bullet was fully removed, there’s a fair chance you’ll spot any other abnormality in the area; and so on.

  4. Sorry but if you are seeking a long healthy life then the service is generally not a good idea.

    1. I fail to see why.  In my immediate family we have dad, myself, two sisters, two brothers in law, and one husband all veterans, all over fifty, all in reasonably good health (Dad has Alzheimer’s but there’s no post hoc ergo propter hoc there that I know of).  

      Mining and farming are far more lethal occupations than the military.

      (Edited to add another brother in law).

      1. I think it has to do with all the shooting and stuff blowing up that tends to be a part of it.  At least for combat units, maybe not for admin staff.

        1. If you look at the statistics, mining and farming are still more dangerous.

          Hell, driving is more dangerous, in terms of # Americans killed and maimed each year.

          (and while my sisters and I were REMFs, my father/husband/BILs were all grunts).

  5. I wonder if they are going to look at wanting to join the military as a factor – be it socio economic or studies of biological baseline it would be a fascinating study yet likely to raise a huge shitstorm overshadowing any actual outcome (ie imagine the reporting if someone tested estrogen/testoterone levels in women recruits vs non recruits).

    Anyway with the male breast cancer spikes one would imagine environmental studies would be the best avenue of research.

      1. Breast cancer awareness and treatment is good.  Using the marketing campaign associated with it to shill unrelated cruft, not so good.  For example, a pink anodized pistol?  O RLY?

  6. Drinking water at Camp LeJeune is a likely culprit.  They’ve had some of the worst drinking water in the country for many years, largely due to chemicals from stored ordnance and other things leaching into the water table.  President Obama recently signed legislation to compensate folks living there between 1957 and 1987 for health problems, but the water quality problems persisted for at least a decade after that.

  7. my guess is the slew of shots and vaccines they give the soldiers. It wouldnt be the first time we experiment on our military men and women.

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