Researchers at UC Davis Cancer Center recently reported that Vietnam War veterans who have been exposed to Agent Orange have an increased risk of an aggressive form of prostate cancer later in life.
Results showed that twice as many veterans exposed to Agent Orange developed prostate cancer than veterans not exposed. Exposed veterans were also almost four times more likely to be diagnosed after the cancer had spread or metastasized.
Men who have been exposed to Agent Orange should be screened more often and younger for prostate cancer. Many veterans do not receive care at a VA hospital, so it is important for their primary doctors and urologists to know whether the patient has been exposed to Agent Orange.
Screenings that are currently used are the digital rectal exam (DRE) and the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test. A PSA test measures the amount of PSA in the blood. PSA is made by the prostate and is sometimes found in larger amounts in men who have prostate cancer. However, this test is not always correct. Infections, swelling of the prostate and a condition called benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) can also increase the amount of PSA in the blood. BPH occurs when the prostate grows larger but is not cancerous.
Studies are ongoing to develop a screening test that is more accurate in finding prostate cancer. It is important to note that prostate cancer can only be confirmed by biopsy.
For more information about prostate cancer or about any cancer concern, contact the Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center/Cancer Information Service:
Walk-in: 200 Hawkins Drive, 4802 JPP
Iowa City, Iowa