Cancer incidence in the US military: An updated analysis

Julie A. Bytnar, Katherine A. McGlynn, Matthew D. Nealeigh, Craig D. Shriver, Kangmin Zhu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: Military and general populations differ in factors related to cancer occurrence and diagnosis. This study compared incidence of colorectal, lung, prostate, testicular, breast, and cervical cancers between the US military and general US populations. Methods: Data from the US Department of Defense’s Automated Central Tumor Registry (ACTUR) and the National Cancer Institute’s Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) program were analyzed. Persons in ACTUR were active-duty members 20–59 years old during 1990–013. The same criteria applied to persons in SEER. Age-adjusted incidence rates, incidence rate ratios, and 95% confidence intervals were calculated by sex, race, age, and cancer stage. Temporal trends were analyzed. Results: ACTUR had higher rates of prostate and breast cancers, particularly in 40- to 59-year-olds. Further analyses by tumor stage showed this was primarily confined to localized stage. Incidence rates of colorectal, lung, testicular, and cervical cancers were significantly lower in ACTUR than in SEER, primarily for regional and distant tumors in men. Temporal incidence trends were generally similar overall and by stage between the populations, although distant colorectal cancer incidence tended to decrease starting in 2006 in ACTUR whereas it increased during the same period in SEER. Conclusion: Higher rates of breast and prostate cancers in servicemembers 40–59 years of age than in the general population may result from greater cancer screening utilization or cumulative military exposures. Lower incidence of other cancers in servicemembers may be associated with better health status.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)96-106
Number of pages11
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2024
Externally publishedYes


  • SEER
  • cancer
  • cancer registry
  • epidemiology
  • incidence
  • military


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