Do Atomic Veterans have excess cancer? New results correcting for the healthy soldier bias

Am J Epidemiol. 1987 Dec;126(6):1042-50. doi: 10.1093/oxfordjournals.aje.a114743.


Reanalysis of the National Research Council report on Mortality of Nuclear Weapons Test Participants, released June 4, 1985, shows 62% excess cancer among soldiers involved in nuclear weapons testing in 1957 codenamed PLUMBBOB, who had exposures to fallout of 300 mrem or more. Although the "healthy soldier bias" was discussed in the original report and a method of correcting for it was described, false negative results were reported because no correction was actually made. Correcting for the healthy soldier bias reveals excess digestive, respiratory, leukemia, and other cancers in PLUMBBOB participants whose reported doses were over 300 mrem.

MeSH terms

  • Dose-Response Relationship, Radiation
  • False Negative Reactions
  • Humans
  • Leukemia, Radiation-Induced / epidemiology
  • Leukemia, Radiation-Induced / etiology
  • Leukemia, Radiation-Induced / mortality
  • Male
  • Neoplasms, Radiation-Induced / epidemiology*
  • Neoplasms, Radiation-Induced / etiology
  • Neoplasms, Radiation-Induced / mortality
  • Nevada
  • Nuclear Warfare*
  • Radioactive Fallout / adverse effects*
  • Risk Factors
  • Statistics as Topic
  • Veterans*


  • Radioactive Fallout