What proportion of the veterans are suffering from ailments that are identifiable as unrelated to their Gulf War service -- for example, cancer?

This is a very difficult question to answer because cancer and other common ailments, which account for 70 percent of all illness reported by Persian Gulf veterans, may occur with increased frequency in individuals following exposure to a variety of toxic substances. Cancer, however, may require 20 to 30 years to develop following a toxic exposure.

 

Early indications are that Persian Gulf veterans have not experienced an increase in hospitalizations or death from disease or illness when compared to their military peers who did not serve in the Gulf War. However, more research and time are required to determine if the delayed occurrence of commonly diagnosed conditions is increased in Persian Gulf veterans.