Mortality among women Vietnam veterans, 1973-1987.Am J Epidemiol. 1991 Nov 01; 134(9):973-80.AJ
A retrospective cohort mortality study was conducted to examine health effects of US military service in Vietnam on women veterans who served there between July 4, 1965 and March 28, 1973. About 4,600 women Vietnam veterans and 5,300 women veterans who had never served in Vietnam were identified from military records and followed for vital status on December 31, 1987. Mortality rates for all causes of death combined and for all cancers among Vietnam veterans were similar to those among non-Vietnam veterans (relative risk (RR) = 0.93). There was a slight excess of mortality from external causes among women Vietnam veterans compared with non-Vietnam veterans (RR = 1.33), primarily due to an excess of motor vehicle accidents (RR = 3.19). Suicide rates were nearly the same in both cohorts (RR = 0.96). Vietnam veterans had twofold increases in mortality from cancers of the pancreas and uterine corpus compared with non-Vietnam veterans. Women Vietnam veterans and non-Vietnam veterans had lower-than-expected mortality from all causes of death combined (standardized mortality ratio (SMR) = 0.82 and 0.88, respectively), based on rates for US women, due to significant deficits of deaths from circulatory diseases. Compared with rates for US women, mortality from cancers of the pancreas (five deaths, SMR = 3.27) and uterine corpus (four deaths, SMR = 4.05) was significantly elevated among Vietnam veteran nurses.