After two decades of war, America’s veterans are experiencing a startling spike in various serious, often fatal cancers.
Those who’ve served in the War on Terror and their families are questioning if their exposure to certain chemicals more common in bivouac areas and at the front have given them a higher likelihood of developing cancers.
McClatchy found that the rate of cancer treatments for veterans at Department of Veterans Affairs health care centers increased 61 percent for urinary cancers — which include bladder, kidney and ureter cancers — from fiscal year 2000 to 2018.
The rate of blood cancer treatments — lymphoma, myeloma and leukemia — rose 18 percent in the same period. Liver and pancreatic cancer treatment rates increased 96 percent and prostate cancer treatment rates increased 23 percent.
McClatchy analyzed all billing data for veteran visits involving a cancer diagnosis at V.A. medical facilities from fiscal year 2000 to 2018. The data was obtained through Freedom of Information Act requests. A more in-depth methodology of the review can be found here.
McClatchy selected that time frame to look at what impact the last two decades of war in Iraq and Afghanistan have had on veterans’ medical needs, even as the V.A. continues to treat veterans from past wars.