Neoplasms in Persian Gulf Veterans

PEMD-96-15R: Published: Jun 21, 1996. Publicly Released: Jun 21, 1996.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed Department of Veterans Affairs' (VA) data on the frequency of abnormal tissue growths among Persian Gulf War veterans and other military personnel. GAO noted that: (1) VA data show that Persian Gulf War veterans have a neoplasm-diagnosis rate that is more than three times higher than that of non-war veterans; (2) the higher neoplasm rate for war veterans may be due to causes other than service in the Persian Gulf, such as war veterans seeking VA hospital treatment more often than non-war veterans; (3) the rate of surgical procedures for the two groups is not significantly different, which could mean that war veterans' neoplasms are not as serious as those diagnosed among non-war veterans; and (4) analyzing alternative explanations for war veterans' neoplasm rate would require extensive statistical analysis and professional judgment.

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