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