Walter Reed Army Medical Center Doctors found that breast cancer rates among military women are “significantly higher” — that military women are 20% to 40% more likely to get the disease than other women in the same age groups.
“Military women are more likely to be engaged in industrial jobs than females in the general population and more likely to be exposed to chemicals that may be related to breast cancer,” researchers wrote in the 2009 study.
– Radio emissions. Breast cancer is linked to men and women working as radio operators, electricians, telephone repair people and other jobs involving exposure to electromagnetic radiation.
– Chemicals. Army enlisted women who worked regularly with at least one volatile organic compound — such as solvents, paints and exhaust — were 48% more likely to develop breast cancer than those who didn’t, according to a 2005 military study of those under 35.
– Aircrew work. Female civilian aircrew members have higher rates of breast cancer, likely due to repeated and prolonged exposure to solar radiation. Research on male Air Force crew members, though not on female, has found similar spikes in other cancer rates.
– Toxic bases. Many of the worst Superfund toxic cleanup sites, often linked to all kinds of cancer clusters, are located on current or former military bases. Camp Lejeune, N.C., for example, has witnessed an shocking number of male breast cancer cases!
– Shift work. A 2012 study of Danish military women correlates night-shift workers with breast cancer — for both those in uniform and their families. Researchers found those working the swing shift were 40% more likely to face breast cancer diagnoses. Suspected is the suppression of melatonin, produced by the pineal gland, from sleepless nights which may also inhibit the body’s ability to fight off cancer-causing cells! Lower levels of melatonin have been found in women with breast cancer than in those wtihout.
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“One of the highest forms of cancer among our service members and veterans is breast cancer,” says US Congressman Leonard L. Boswell, D-Iowa.
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Early Detection of breast cancer IS BEST! There are two basic methods of screening for breast cancer:
1. Mammograms. A safe, low-dose x-ray exam of the breasts to look for changes that are not normal. Starting at age 40, women should have screening mammograms every 1-2 years. Depending on factors such as family history and your general health, your doctor may recommend a mammogram before age 40.
2. Clinical Breast Exams. The doctor looks at and feels the breasts and under the arms for lumps or anything else that seems unusual. Ask your doctor if you need a CBE. (Source: US Dept. of Health and Human Services)
Don’t forget your monthly Breast Self Exam! Don’t know how? Ask your healthcare provider or follow the instructions here.
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More than 800 women were wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan, yet more have been diagnosed with breast cancer. From 2000 to 2011, 874 military women developed breast cancer, according to the Armed Forces HealthSurveillance Center. A 2009 study found that female deployees were evacuated from combat zones because of suspected or confirmed breast cancer more “than for any other condition.”