The etiology of sarcomas is not clear. Environmental exposures have been implicated as potential agents in the development of some sarcomas, but more research is needed. The military health system (MHS) may be able to provide population-based information regarding sarcomas. Discharge diagnoses for bone sarcoma and soft tissue sarcoma were searched within a large administrative database maintained by the U.S. military. There were >200 cases of bone sarcoma and >300 cases of soft tissue sarcoma during the 2-year study period of 2002-2003. The crude prevalence of admission for bone sarcoma within the MHS was 1.2 cases per 100,000 per year. The crude prevalence of admission for soft tissue sarcoma was 1.7 cases per 100,000 per year. These statistics suggest that the MHS may be used to test hypotheses regarding sarcoma epidemiological features, especially for studies that concern military-related exposures. However, nearly 70% of the military beneficiaries who were sarcoma patients were admitted to civilian hospitals, as opposed to military treatment facilities. Therefore, population-based studies of sarcoma patients in the MHS should seek means to capture data for patients who are treated outside military facilities. The database used for this study may provide important information regarding these patients. In addition, military health care planners may use the information from this study to develop referral strategies within the MHS.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health