HELENA, Mont. - An investigation is underway in regard to a recently reported high rate of cancer among Malmstrom Air Force Base missileers.
Nine out of 400 Malmstrom missileers have been diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, according to the Associated Press, Sen. Jon Tester's office said in a release.
In contrast, the national average for new diagnosed cases is 19 out of every 100,000 people per year, additionally, Sen. Tester's office's release said the diagnosed servicemembers for this cancer are younger than the average diagnosis age of 67.
Department of Defense and Department of Veterans Affairs leaders are being pressed to take swift action to make sure all impacted veterans and active servicemembers are identified and get the health treatment they need.
“Given the reported timeframe of potentially cancer-causing exposures, the unknown number and current status …of potentially affected individuals, and the seriousness of the reported health outcomes, I urge the DOD and VA to work urgently together to ensure every potentially impacted individual is made aware of this situation, receives the appropriate health assessment and is offered the appropriate care he or she needs,” Tester wrote in a letter to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and VA Secretary Denis McDonough. “I would also appreciate any relevant information from DOD about this situation, including steps that are being taken or have been taken to identify an exposure or exposures, establish a timeframe for exposure, recognize potentially affected individuals and address health concerns of those individuals.”
“Most importantly, comprehensive health assessments must be made available to all servicemembers and veterans who served as a Missileer at any location to identify any potential adverse health outcomes … DOD must also ensure VA has the information it needs to ensure prompt decision-making if and when claims for service-connection are made as a result of potential exposures.”
Sen. Steve Daines said in a statement from his office, “I write to stress the importance of the ongoing investigation into the possible increased likelihood of cancer for missileers at Malmstrom Air Force Base in Great Falls, Montana. I urge the Department of Defense to re-examine previous studies and expand the current investigation, which is monitoring and screening current and former missileers. It must be a priority to ensure that our nuclear readiness is sufficient and that missile combat crews are safe from nuclear radiation exposure.”