Background: Cancer incidence in U.S. Air Force active duty (AFAD) personnel is unknown. Defining the epidemiology may support more effective prevention and clinical services.
Methods: Standardized incidence ratios (SIRs) for invasive cancer in AFAD personnel during 1989-2002 were determined using U.S. national incidence rates as the reference. SIRs were adjusted for age and race. Cutaneous squamous and basal cell carcinomas (CAs) were excluded.
Results: There were 2750 cases: 1986 in men and 764 in women. The all-cancers SIRs were for men, 0.50 (95% CI: 0.48-0.53), and for women, 0.96 (95% CI: 0.89-1.03). Among men, the 10 most frequent cancers (77.6% of total) were, in descending order: melanoma; testicular CA; prostate CA; non-Hodgkin lymphoma; follicular/papillary thyroid CA; Hodgkin's Disease; colorectal CA; brain neuroepithelial CA; and (tied) bladder CA and oral squamous cell CA. Among women, the 10 most frequent cancers (88.1% of total) were, in descending order: breast CA; cervical CA; follicular/papillary thyroid CA; melanoma; Hodgkin's Disease; colorectal CA; (tied) non-Hodgkin lymphoma and ovarian epithelial CA; vulvar CA; and (tied) brain neuroepithelial CA and oral squamous cell CA. Compared with the U.S. population, cancer type-specific SIRs were significantly increased for cervical CA, prostate CA, and vulvar CA (range, 1.44-3.54). SIRs were significantly decreased for bladder CA (men), brain neuroepithelial CA, colorectal CA (men), Hodgkin's Disease (men), non-Hodgkin lymphoma, oral squamous cell CA (men), and testicular CA (range, 0.31-0.68). The remaining SIRs were not significantly different from unity.
Conclusions: The cancer experience of the AFAD population differs substantially from that of the U.S. population.