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February 3, 1984

Adenocarcinoma of the Lung in Vietnam Veterans Younger Than 35 Years

Author Affiliations

Cleveland Veterans Administration Medical Center Case Western Reserve School of Medicine Cleveland

JAMA. 1984;251(5):604. doi:10.1001/jama.1984.03340290024011

To the Editor.—  The question of whether the health of military personnel serving in Vietnam was jeopardized by the use of phenoxy herbacides contaminated by chlorophenols and dioxins remains unanswered. Sarcomas have been reported in lumber workers exposed to these agents1,2 and among exposed chemical industry workers.3 Three cases of thoracic sarcomas in Vietnam veterans have been reported.4Other malignant conditions could also be associated with chlorophenol and dioxin exposure. We now report two cases of adenocarcinoma of the lung in Vietnam veterans younger than 35 years. Both served in defoliated areas between 1968 and 1970.

Report of Cases.—Case 1.—  A 31-year-old man was seen with cough and a right upper lobe mass in August 1981 (Fig 1). The patient had been an infantryman in Vietnam from April 1969 to April 1970; however, there was no clear history of herbacide exposure. He was a two-pack-a-day