Military Notebook: Breast cancer higher among military women

October 6, 2012 

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and this week the Air Force Times published a story about a peculiar fact related to cancer and the military.

The cancer rate overall among military members is lower than average, the story states, probably because of a younger and generally healthier population. The one exception is breast cancer, which is higher among women and men serving in the military.

A 2009 study at Walter Reed Army Medical Center found military women are 20 to 40 percent more likely to get breast cancer than other women of the same age group. One possible cause is a higher use of oral contraceptives -- which have been linked to a slight increase in the risk for breast cancer -- among military women, researchers said. Military women also are more likely to be exposed to chemicals that may be linked to breast cancer.

Although rare, men also can get breast cancer and there are troubling cases in the military. The story cited that dozens of men who lived and worked near Camp Lejeune, N.C., got the disease. The Centers for Disease Control is doing a study to determine whether it is related to contaminated drinking water.

Early detection is key to breast cancer survival. The American Cancer Society recommends women get a mammogram annually beginning at age 40.

Company to renovate buildings at Robins

The Army Corps of Engineers has awarded a $10.9 million contract to a company for renovations and additions to 13 buildings at Robins Air Force Base.

The contract was awarded to Lifecycle Construction Services, headquartered in Washington. Company President Sean Haynes said the work will be done over a period of three years.

Japanese protest Ospreys

After initial concerns over safety, the Japanese government has agreed to allow U.S. Marines to operate a dozen MW-22 Osprey hybrid aircraft on Okinawa, but ordinary citizens remain upset about it.

Hundreds of residents protested as the first six of the aircraft flew onto the base Monday. They were concerned about the tilt-rotor planes operating on the crowded island.

Crashes in Morocco and Florida earlier this year prompted concerns about the safety of the Ospreys, which take off and land like helicopters but while airborne can tilt the dual rotors to fly like an airplane.

The U.S. has expressed confidence in the safety of the aircraft.

To contact writer Wayne Crenshaw, call 256-9725.

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