For our fathers and brothers, uncles and cousins, this week is Men’s Health Week, and preventative care is at the heart of men’s health, literally. Heart disease and cancer are the leading cause of mortality of men in the U.S. At Department of Veterans Affairs, approximately 90 percent of our patients are men. That means we take the early detection of these conditions seriously.
VA physicians developed treatment guidelines for a number of cardiac conditions such as chronic heart failure, hypertension and ischemic heart disease. Standardizing clinical pathways for conditions like these leads to more consistent care. For three consecutive years, VA has met or exceeded our goal for early identification and treatment for potentially disabling or deadly diseases, such as heart attacks, inpatient congestive heart failure and high blood pressure.
Addressing the healthy lifestyles of our Veterans involves regular cancer screenings. Our physicians make sure to screen on average more than 92 percent of Veterans. To continue to evolve the medicine to defeat cancer, VA is also involved in an internationally recognized quality-based clinical research network, called the Cooperative Studies Program (CSP).
This network is conducting several large on-going clinical trials, including the Colonoscopy vs. Fecal Immunochemical Testing in Reducing Mortality from Colorectal Cancer (CONFIRM). The trial will eventually enroll 50,000 to help determine the most effective method for screening for colorectal cancer – the most common cancer, affecting more than 15 percent of all men.
Men’s Health Week is all about raising awareness and getting healthy. Physicians at VA are helping to develop the latest diagnostic procedures and treatment protocols to just that. All in the hopes of providing our Veterans better care – care that will help the world.