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 or call 855-VA-WOMEN (855-829-6636) for information about VA services and resources.

This post first appeared on the White House website.

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Published on May. 19, 2017

Estimated reading time is 1.9 min.

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  1. Carol S Hill May 31, 2017 at 9:46 am

    I agree. There is 1 PTSD peer group that meets once a week in Sarasota, FL and NO MST counseling at all. And the PTSD group has a dozen men and occasionally a woman drops by.

  2. Lennora Valles May 30, 2017 at 11:23 pm

    MST Veterans like myself need more support services for Military Sexual Trauma Veterans. MST Veterans should have same benefits and services as combat veterans. See how easy it was for a Navy Veteran to fall prey to the streets of Las Vegas as a prostitute. Follow me on Twitter @SoNVWomenVets and join my facebook page Southern Nevada Women Veterans Coalition.

  3. liz May 30, 2017 at 1:59 pm

    VA Health Care Centers Want the Choice Program $$; but they do not want to give Veteran’s the Choice to use it. That money that does not get used by Veteran’s because the VAHC system will deny our requests to Access will be turned into Discretionary Spending at each VA Hospital. Bottom line, that $13.2 Billion will be used to give Administrators, Directors bonuses because they did not give access to deserving Veterans who wish to be seen by competent Non-VA Community care. I am a Female Vietnam Veteran and my request for Community Choice Care has been denied because the Administrators state by giving me full Access to Veteran’s Choice will keep them out of the loop, and they insist I should come to their Clinic; where I was Sexually assaulted in their Pain Classes by a Male patient. Even after patient Advocate presented the facts, my request for Choice in my Community has been Denied. Does VAHC care about my Individual Female needs, Absolutely not. Deny-deny and hurry up and Die.

  4. Olivia Jaiman May 26, 2017 at 7:43 pm

    I am so utterly disgusted with the VA. I have been without a care provider in the VA for the past two years. How can you solicit for more women to join the VA Healthcare system when you can barely and inadequately provide care for the ones already in the system?
    Be honest about the health care disparities you are creating by over taxing your sick system. The veterans President Lincoln swore to care for are looking to those now in charge to do so.
    Vietnam War Era Veteran,
    Olivia Jaiman

  5. Jo May 26, 2017 at 7:22 pm

    The VA Pharmacy still stocks very few drugs for females. Why don’t they stock Vagifem?

  6. joanna mclaughlin May 24, 2017 at 11:14 am

    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.

    • Jeanette H May 27, 2017 at 12:59 pm

      Joanna – if the care you need is not available at the VA clinic you are eligible for CHOICE. It is very frustrating because many of the doctors have no idea how the administrative side works and so will sometimes tell you things that are not true. The doctor who is recommending therapy just needs to write a consult for you to get that care via CHOICE. The consult would be sent to the Non-VA Care section at your VA Hospital and they will contact you to explain how to get it all set up. You don’t need a CHOICE card to use the program (because it’s not like you can walk into a civilian doctor’s office and show that as if it’s insurance, because it’s not – the card is colossal waste of money). Talk to the doctor or clinic manager at the hospital who is recommending that you have therapy, and if that doesn’t work, see the Patient Advocate at the hospital.

  7. Nancy Sommers May 23, 2017 at 12:15 pm

    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!

  8. Leslie Price May 20, 2017 at 12:40 am

    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.

  9. sharla tuttle May 19, 2017 at 2:10 pm

    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

  10. David Watts May 19, 2017 at 12:06 pm

    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…..

    • Jeanette H May 27, 2017 at 1:02 pm

      I hope you’re using a Veteran Service Organization (such as the DAV, VFW, AmVets) to assist you in getting your claim processed. If not, contact someone in your area ASAP.

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