Are Fighter Pilots At Greater Risk for Prostate Cancer? The Air Force Is Now Asking (excerpt)
(Source:; published July 26, 2019)
By Tara Copp and Shirsho Dasgupta
WASHINGTON --- The Air Force has begun to look at whether there’s increased risk for prostate cancer among its fighter pilots. A new investigation by McClatchy shows just how serious the problem may be.

The fighter pilot study was requested by Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein after he was contacted by concerned veterans service organizations in 2018, according to the report obtained by McClatchy.

At the heart of the Air Force study was a question of whether extended exposure in the cockpit to radiation may be linked to increased risk of prostate cancer.

The study said “pilots have greater environmental exposure to ultraviolet and ionizing radiation ... (fighter pilots) have unique intra-cockpit exposures to non-ionizing radiation.” The Air Force study was conducted by the 711th Human Performance Wing at Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio.

The Air Force study found that fighter pilots are no likelier to develop prostate cancer than non-pilots. But the Air Force acknowledged the limitations of its review. “Many of the limitations affecting the present study concerned data access and data quality. Capture of cancer cases may have been incomplete,” it said.

A separate review by McClatchy of Veterans Health Administration data on prostate cancer among Air Force veterans showed more severe results. The number of Air Force veterans diagnosed with prostate cancer has nearly tripled from 2000 to 2018 while that diagnosis for the veteran community at large has doubled in the same period. The McClatchy-obtained data did not break out pilots and non-pilots. (end of excerpt)

Click here for the full story, on the McClatchy website.


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