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Veterans Looking For Answers As New Data Shows Rise In Cancers Over Two Decades Of War

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Courtesy of Mark S. Villamac Ho
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Former Marine Corps Sgt. Mark S. Villamac Ho deployed to Iraq in 2003 as an aviation rescue firefighter. He and the Marines he served with were exposed to firefighting foam in Iraq, that the Defense Department is phasing out due to its links to cancer.

Veterans saw a spike in urinary, prostate, liver and blood cancers during nearly two decades of war, and some military families now question whether their exposure to toxic environments is to blame, according to a McClatchy investigation.

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.

Read more at our news partner the Miami Herald.