Pancreatic cancer deaths in Texas veterans

Suzanne Moore, The University of Texas School of Public Health


Background/objective. Several studies have found an increased risk of pancreatic cancer in veterans deployed to Vietnam during the Vietnam War. Diabetes, a known risk factor for pancreatic cancer, has been designated as a service-connected illness in deployed Vietnam veterans. The majority of Vietnam veterans, now between the ages of 55 to 65, have not yet reached the ages of pancreatic cancer’s greatest prevalence, ages 65 to 79. This case-control study utilized 1998 electronic Texas death certificate data for white, black and Hispanic men to explore the question of whether military service was a risk factor for deaths due to pancreatic cancer among men who died in 1998. Methods. The primary study included men born between 1927 and 1953, and was a matched case-control study with two control groups; 431 pancreatic cancer cases were birth-year and race-matched one case to two non-neoplastic death controls and, for the second control group, were matched 1:1 with 431 accidental death controls. The exposure was military service, recorded as “yes”, “no” or “unknown” on the death certificate. Conditional logistic regression was used for the data analysis. Logistic regression was used in two additional unmatched analyses to examine the same exposure, military service, within different birth cohorts, again using pancreatic cancer cases with non-neoplastic and accidental death controls. Results. For pancreatic cancer cases matched to non-neoplastic controls, the association with military service showed an elevated odds ratio (OR) of 1.40 (95% confidence interval [CI] 1.10-1.79); matched to accidental death controls, a similar association with military service was detected [OR=1.40 (95% CI 1.04-1.89)]. The association was not seen in all time periods and was greatest for those within a birth cohort specific for Vietnam Era service. For men born between 1946 and 1950, OR=1.90 (95% CI 1.03-3.50) for comparison with non-neoplastic controls and OR=1.91 (95% CI 0.9995-3.64) for accidental death controls. Conclusion. In Texas, for men aged 44-71, who died in 1998, military service was associated with an approximately 40% increased risk for pancreatic cancer. For men ages 48-52, military service was associated with an approximately 90% increased risk for pancreatic cancer.

Subject Area


Recommended Citation

Moore, Suzanne, "Pancreatic cancer deaths in Texas veterans" (2009). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI1470201.