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Vietnam Veterans

The first two studies that we carried out were carried out in association with the Vietnam Veterans, funded by the Ministerial Veterans Health Advisory Panel. We traced the cohort by finding Veterans on the Flinkenberg List’ assembled by Captain Conrad (Con) Flinkenberg RNZA, pay documents which he was told to discard…

Of the 3322 survivors of Vietnam service, we followed up 2783 (84%), tracing deaths and cancer registrations through the Ministry of Health Mortality Collection and Cancer Registry data. Veterans were less likely to have died: the ‘healthy soldier’ effect, because they were selected to be healthy. They did have significant excesses of head and neck cancers and Leukaemia- which is associated with ‘Agent Orange.’ The New Zealand and Australian Veterans were the only groups to show this.

You can find the paper here:

Vietnam Veterans mortality

We also looked at hospital admissions, finding that admission rates for chronic renal failure and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease were highest in the 2006–2009 time period. This shows that the healthy soldier effect wears off with time and that health checks (available for Vietnam Veterans):

Annual medical assessments

Are important! It would also be a good thing if Veterans were ‘flagged’ in the practice management systems of General Practitioners.

The paper can be found here:

Health conditions