Agent Orange Exposure Linked to Plasma Cell Disorder
Veterans exposed to Agent Orange during their military careers have long known they are at an increased risk for developing cancer. A new study has found that exposure to Agent Orange’s contaminant chemical, TCDD, may also increase risk for the development of monoclonal gammopathy.
Monoclonal gammopathy is an abnormal protein that is found in the blood. The protein is produced by plasma cells, which are a type of white blood cell. On the surface, monoclonal gammopathy is of no major concern. It can often be present without any real problems arising. It is, however, often associated with other diseases, such as multiple myeloma. It may also progress over time to become another disorder, including some forms of blood cancer.
The increased presence of monoclonal gammopathy in veterans exposed to Agent Orange was uncovered by researchers from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. Researchers there screened a number of exposed veterans and found an increased risk. Significant increases were found in veterans younger than age 70, the researchers noted.
While monoclonal gammopathy does not always develop into multiple melanoma, researchers point out it is an early precursor to the disease. With that in mind, those with exposure to Agent Orange are urged to keep up with routine health exams. It does, however, remain unclear if TCDD happens to play a direct role in the formation of multiple myeloma.
Veterans who have been exposed to Agent Orange in the past are at an increased risk to a variety of serious health concerns. Men and women with confirmed exposure should discuss their risks carefully with a healthcare provider. Routine screening and other measures may help doctors detect cancer and other related conditions early when treatment options are likely to be successful. The best advice will depend on the unique case in question, so a medical evaluation is important.
Southlake Oncology, a Choice Cancer Care Treatment Center, located in the Southlake and Grapevine area, is a community-focused oncology practice that delivers exceptional care to North Texas cancer patients with a variety of cancer diagnoses and blood disorders.