Trichloroethylene exposure might significantly increase ovarian cancer risk
A study from the medical journal Epidemiology assessed the mortality rate of 20,508 aerospace workers exposed to trichloroethylene, one of the solvents lurking in the drinking water at Camp Lejeune. The researchers observed elevated ratios for ovarian cancer among those with peak exposure at medium and high levels.
Furthermore, according to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, a study from Environmental Health Perspectives showed a significant association between trichloroethylene exposure and ovarian cancer. Benzene exposure also has a connection with ovarian cancer, according to medical studies. The solvent was also present in the environment of Camp Lejeune, and service members would be exposed to it during the following activities:
- storage and dispensing of liquid petroleum fuels
- cleaning and degreasing activities
- ship, vehicle, and aircraft maintenance servicing, repairs, and overhaul
Exposure to PFAS may also increase ovarian cancer risk, although more research is necessary to establish a definitive association. Since ovarian cancer is partly hormone-sensitive and some of these harmful chemicals are endocrine disruptors, it is possible that PFAS exposure contributes to ovarian cancer development and progression. PFAS were in the drinking water at Camp Lejeune after 1967, exacerbating toxic exposure among service members. The following hormone receptors are involved in ovarian cancer, which PFAS can target:
- androgen receptor
- estrogen receptor
- progesterone receptor
Finally, exposure to certain environmental agents such as pesticides and herbicides may increase ovarian cancer risk, so female veterans who served during the Vietnam War and spent time at Camp Lejeune, where Agent Orange was stored, are now at high risk of ovarian cancer. The main ingredient in Agent Orange, dioxin TCDD, is a highly toxic compound that can cause cancer, disrupt hormones, and lead to other serious reproductive problems. It is estimated that between 2.6 and 3.8 million service members were exposed to Agent Orange, out of whom 11,000 were women.