According to the National Cancer Institute, 12.4% of women born in the United States today will develop breast cancer at some point in their lives. An alarming statistic, especially when you consider that women are also the fastest-growing group of U.S. Veterans. It’s one of the many reasons why we always stress the importance of early detection.
For nearly two decades, VA has led the nation in breast cancer screening for women. We encourage all women between the ages of 50 and 75 to get mammograms every two years, because it’s one of the most effective ways to detect breast cancer early, which makes a big difference in a woman’s chance of surviving. In fact, the overall five-year survival rate from breast cancer is nearly 90%. And if the cancer is caught while it is still located only in the breast, the survival rate increases to nearly 99%.
Our success in Women’s Health goes beyond mammograms, as our employees work hard to continuously improve the many services we offer. Our efforts include:
Increasing access to care for female Veterans
- Investing more than $390 million in the remodeling and construction of exam and inpatient rooms
- Training over 1,100 providers in Women Veterans’ Primary Health Care
- Providing mental health, homelessness prevention and other services designed to meet the unique needs of female Veterans
- Conducting cutting-edge research on the effects of military service on women’s lives
We know there’s more work to be done. But with early detection, increased access and better care, we are well-positioned to meet the changing needs of women Veterans nationwide—this month, next month and far into the future.