U.S. Reps. Adam Kinzinger and Elaine Luria introduced legislation to help the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs better understand the incidence of cancer diagnosis and mortality among fighter pilots.
The bipartisan Military Pilot Cancer Incidence Study Act is meant to ensure access to quality preventative health care for service members, according to a news release.
"When I joined the Air Force, I knew the risks that came with military service, especially flying in combat missions," Kinzinger said in the release. "What I didn’t realize then was the amount of radiation pilots are exposed to during that service."
Kinzinger's office cited a news report on a new U.S. Air Force study about the risk of prostate cancers among fighter pilots. The study found that pilots have greater environmental exposure to ultraviolet and ionizing radiation.
The congressman added that data from previous studies was not comprehensive and did not cover some services or explore some types of cancer linked to radiation exposure in cockpits or at high altitudes.
The study would also determine the appropriate age to begin screening pilots as young as 30 for different forms of cancer.
"As cancer rates climb among pilots in the Armed Forces, it’s imperative we get more information on this connection and come up with a resolution without degrading our military strength," Kinzinger said in the release. "I’m proud to introduce legislation with my colleague Rep. Luria as we work to determine these incidences."