Women Veterans: You are in control of your care at VA


This post first appeared on the White House website.

As we celebrate Women’s Health Week, I am pleased to announce that VA has adopted American Cancer Society breast cancer screening guidelines that give women a choice to begin screening at age 40.

The guidelines also recommend starting yearly mammograms by age 45 and then every other year from age 55. The guidelines apply to women at average risk for breast cancer and complement VA’s already-extensive program for breast care for Veterans.

I believe it’s important for our women Veterans to know that they are in control of their care and the care they receive from VA is consistent with or exceeds care in the private sector. Adopting American Cancer Society standards gives Veterans further assurances that their care aligns with other health-care systems.

It’s worth drawing attention to a few other related facts:

  • All eligible women Veterans have access to mammograms either onsite or through care in the community;
  • Currently, 76 percent of women Veterans age 40-49 receive mammograms through VA.
  • VA quality scores from the Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set, show that women Veterans are much more likely to receive age-appropriate breast cancer screening than women in private sector health care;
  • In 2015, VA provided mammogram screenings to 86 percent of its women Veteran patients age 50-74, compared with the private sector at 73 percent; and
  • VA has established a state-of-the-art information technology Breast Cancer Registry (BCR). The BCR integrates data from several VA sources to provide comprehensive patient specific information about breast cancer screening, test results, past and current breast cancer treatment, and population surveillance of breast care (both in the community and within VA).

Our Acting VA Under Secretary for Health Dr. Poonam Alaigh said it perhaps best last week: “Engaging and better servicing the unique healthcare needs of our women Veterans is one of VA’s most important priorities. When it comes to their care, we want women Veterans to be in control of it every day and in every way.”

For more information about VA’s commitment to women Veterans, please visit https://www.va.gov/womenvet/ or call 855-VA-WOMEN (855-829-6636) for information about VA services and resources.

This post first appeared on the White House website.


David Shulkin

Dr. David J. Shulkin is the Secretary of Veterans Affairs. Prior to his confirmation on Feb. 13, 2017, Dr. Shulkin served as VA’s Under Secretary for Health for 18 months, leading the nation’s largest integrated health care system, with over 1,700 sites of care serving nearly nine million Veterans.


  1. David Watts    

    The VA is still lacking, my wife put in for PTSD and they never even looked at her claim. They told her the Dr never even looked in her records to see if she was being treated for it. Now she has to redo the complete process over again after waiting over year for those results. When we called the 1800 number we were told to wait 30 days while they looked into it. We heard Nothing so we decided to start the claim over again. Someone needs to do something about the VA…..

  2. sharla tuttle    

    Why aren’t there information about the VA doctors so we have a chance to decide who to use. I needed some help with my knee and went out of the VA because no one could tell me anything about the background of these doctors. I hope someone can see their to making info available to all Vets. Thank You

  3. Leslie Price    

    I am saddened to hear that so many vets are left without timely care. I work in a non-profit healthcare outpatient orthopedic system and we treat many military family members who have Tricare insurance. I am tweeting the White House to take care of veterans. My dad was a vet and got good care in Kansas. This is a priority and I will keep advocating for you and other vets.

  4. Nancy Sommers    

    Secretary of Health Dr. Poonam Alaigh’s comment; “Engaging and better servicing the unique healthcare needs of our women Veterans is ONE OF VA’s MOST IMPORTANT PRIORITIES….” is a complete contrast to what I hear as testimony from the hundreds of female Veterans I speak to regularly. As a Service Dog Advocate I am currently assisting a Veteran that was turned away from emergency care because of her Service Dog! Completely distraught and propelled with confusion her health condition quickly declined and because she can not be without her Service Dog she was taken by ambulance to a local civilian hospital. This is an outrage on so many levels and contradicts Dr. Alaigh’s statement about the VA’s PRIORITIES!

  5. joanna mclaughlin    

    I live 45 miles from the Manchester VA in Manchester NH. I live 45 miles from Boston VA in Boston Ma. I should be elegible for the VA Health Choice Care card, because of the distance. But because I live 25 miles from the Haverhill, Ma clinic I am not. I wrote to my congressman and he said that Congress made it a rule that if you live near a clinic than you are not elligable for the Health Choice Card. So I have to travel for an hour for care, because all the clinic does is take my blood and my blood pressure. Everything I need is at the hospital. Instead of saying I will bring this up to congress I was told this is the rule. I have PTSD, numerous problems with my back, they say I need therapy but who can drive with a bad back and bad knees for over two hours in a car for therapy. This rule needs to be looked into and changed. Thank you for your help in this.

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