An American man dies from prostate cancer every 15 minutes

Military Aviator Study

Veterans Prostate Cancer Awareness (VPCa) is dedicated to saving lives by promoting prostate cancer awareness, early detection, and supporting Veterans, active-duty military, and all men.

Are You A Veteran Aviator?

We invite you to participate in a valuable clinical study to assist in determining why military aviators are prone to higher diagnoses of cancers. VPCa has united with researchers at Baylor University, Harvard University Medical School, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, and Broad Institute to conduct an important study to help impact the source cause and prevention. 

Research has already proven that Veteran men have a greater chance of a prostate cancer diagnosis. Unfortunately, we are discovering that that rate is even higher among former military aviators and aircrew.  

VPCa, in collaboration with the team of researchers and medical personnel are dedicated to determining the environmental factors and risk determinants for prostate cancer in military aviators. We have a study titled “Identifying Environmental Gene-Expression Signatures in Military Aviator-Associated Prostate Cancer”, which is a multi-institutional collaboration to evaluate the tumors and blood of military aviators with prostate cancer.

Stricken: Deaths may be a sign of a rise in cancers in military aviation

A former pilot and squadron commanding officer did some of his own research and found of all squadron commanders of Navy carrier aircraft from 1985 to 2001 were 3 times more likely to develop cancer than their civilian counterparts. 

Military Pilots’ DNA May Hold Key to What’s Causing Their Prostate Cancers

Radars, magnetrons, and other toxic exposures may leave unique signatures on aviators’ cells, giving researchers the first evidence of cause.

Tara Copp, Defense One’s Senior Pentagon Reporter dives deeper into why some military aviators have a much higher risk of certain types of cancers, including prostate cancer.

We Need You to Get Involved

VPCa is assisting with the recruitment of former or current military aviators that have been diagnosed with prostate cancer. In accordance with the Internal Review Board (IRB) approved study procedures and requirements we will accept any stage of prostate cancer in the subjects recruited. 

Aviators spend hundreds, and sometimes thousands of hours sitting just above and behind powerful avionics equipment that provide the energy to operate the weapons and surveillance systems in our military aircraft. We need to question whether there is adequate shielding in those older jets as well as all the aircraft utilized today. “It’s long overdue that the services conduct an in-cockpit test to measure the electronic exposure and radiation effects we are being exposed to,” VPCa Founder Commander Mike Crosby said.

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The objective is to determine causal factors that damaged the DNA making it susceptible to the formation of Prostate Cancer.  This study is focused on the population of military aviators and aircrew but has application across a broad spectrum of Veterans. 

  • We will define the molecular characteristics of this unique cancer patient population and determine the impact of aviation exposure on oncogenesis.
  • Our investigations will facilitate identification of candidate molecular patterns specific to this patient population (aviators with PCa) that may have translational relevance across tumor types in similarly exposed patients with other cancers.
The data generated via this pilot study will allow us to successfully compete for larger grants to support:
  • Further epigenomic profiling including DNA methylation status,
  • Whole exome sequencing (WES),
  • ChIP-seq (histone marks and AR) of our cohorts to elucidate the molecular mechanism behind altered gene expression signatures.

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