HealthViEWS: mortality study of female US Vietnam era veterans, 1965-2010.Am J Epidemiol 2014; 179(6):721-30AJ
We conducted a retrospective study among 4,734 women who served in the US military in Vietnam (Vietnam cohort), 2,062 women who served in countries near Vietnam (near-Vietnam cohort), and 5,313 nondeployed US military women (US cohort) to evaluate the associations of mortality outcomes with Vietnam War service. Veterans were identified from military records and followed for 40 years through December 31, 2010. Information on underlying causes of death was obtained from death certificates and the National Death Index. Based on 2,743 deaths, all 3 veteran cohorts had lower mortality risk from all causes combined and from several major causes, such as diabetes mellitus, heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and nervous system disease relative to comparable US women. However, excess deaths from motor vehicle accidents were observed in the Vietnam cohort (standardized mortality ratio = 3.67, 95% confidence interval (CI): 2.30, 5.56) and in the US cohort (standardized mortality ratio = 1.91, 95% CI: 1.02, 3.27). More than two-thirds of women in the study were military nurses. Nurses in the Vietnam cohort had a 2-fold higher risk of pancreatic cancer death (adjusted relative risk = 2.07, 95% CI: 1.00, 4.25) and an almost 5-fold higher risk of brain cancer death compared with nurses in the US cohort (adjusted relative risk = 4.61, 95% CI: 1.27, 16.83). Findings of all-cause and motor vehicle accident deaths among female Vietnam veterans were consistent with patterns of postwar mortality risk among other war veterans.