Study confirms higher prevalence of specific cancer among Vietnam veterans and their children

Vietnam veterans and their children are more likely to have some types of cancer than the general population, according to a study released today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) and the Department of Veterans' Affairs (DVA).

The study shows that Vietnam veterans have significantly higher levels of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma than expected.

Their children are far more likely to have a relatively rare condition-cancer of the adrenal gland-than the general community. The children also had a significantly higher than expected prevalence of acute myeloid leukaemia.

The report, Morbidity of Vietnam Veterans: Adrenal Gland Cancer, Leukaemia and Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma (supplementary report no. 2) was commissioned by DVA and produced by the AIHW.

The report examined three conditions of concern to the veteran community-adrenal gland cancer, four types of leukaemia and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma-and compared their prevalence to the levels estimated for the Australian community.

The study followed up medical reports with the permission of 6,842 veterans and 3,629 of their children. Other important results for the veteran community include:

  • There was no significant difference between veterans and the community in the prevalence of the four main types of leukaemia.
  • The rate among veterans' children of acute lymphatic, chronic lymphatic and chronic myeloid leukaemia was not significantly different to that of the rest of the community.

8 December 2000


Further information: Phil Trickett, tel. 02 6244 1097
For media copies of the report: Publications Officer, tel. 02 6244 1032.