Women Veterans Health Care
1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime. VA provides screening mammograms to detect breast cancer early, when it is most treatable.
VA uses the American Cancer Society's breast cancer screening guidelines and recommends that all women begin getting yearly mammograms by age 45 and every other year at age 55.
You may also choose to start screening with yearly mammograms at age 40, or even earlier, if you have additional risk factors, such as certain genetic mutations, a family history of breast cancer, or other specific concerns.
VA recommends that you take the actions below at each age milestone:
- Age 40: Talk with your VA primary care provider about the right time to begin screening
- By age 45: Begin yearly mammograms
- Age 55: Get mammograms every other year or continue annually depending on your preference and risk factors
If you served in locations covered by the SERVICE Act, you are eligible for a breast cancer risk assessment and mammography screening for breast cancer if a risk is found. While no direct link has been found between toxic exposure and breast cancer to date, VA is concerned about individual reports and is continuing studies to find out if toxic exposure may be a cause of breast cancer.
What services does VA provide for Breast Health?
Every VA facility has a Women Veterans Program Manager and Women's Health Primary Care Providers to ensure women Veterans have access to appropriate care and treatment. They will connect you with their clinical teams to coordinate all the services you may need.
Breast care resources available through VA include:
- Breast ultrasounds and MRI
- Breast biopsy and surgery
- Genetic counseling and testing
- Cancer diagnosis and treatment
We offer mammograms on-site at over 78 VA facilities, and for those women receiving care at sites without mammography, we offer screening at conveniently located community facilities. We also have mammogram coordinators who track women due for mammograms, follow-up on abnormal results, and help our patients navigate the breast cancer screening process.
VA exceeds the private sector in mammography screening rates.
For women diagnosed with breast cancer, we offer full-service oncology treatment that includes imaging, surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, and other advanced state of the art treatments as needed, either on site, or referred into the community. VA patients are eligible for enrollment into clinical trials.
In addition, VA's National Breast and Gynecologic Cancer System of Excellence combines research, partnerships with the National Cancer Institute, research universities, and medical companies, and enhanced telehealth options for women Veterans who have cancer. This system provides the most advanced cancer care available and access to potentially lifesaving clinical trials for all women Veterans with cancer, even those who live in rural areas.
How do I access services for Breast Health at VA?
If you have concerns about your breast health, start by having a conversation with your VA primary care provider. They can get you set up with a mammogram or any other necessary screening. If you do not have a primary care provider, call the Women Veterans Program Manager at your local VA. All VA medical centers have Women Veterans Program Managers to help women Veterans access VA benefits and health care services. Find the VA medical center nearest you or call 1-877-222-8387.
Can I get disability compensation (monthly payments) or other benefits from VA related to Breast Health?
Explore disability eligibility here. If you have questions, a Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) representative at your nearest regional office can explain more. Find your nearest regional office.
Where can I find more information, help, and resources on Breast Health?
- My HealtheVet — Learn about the types of breast cancer, when to get screened for breast cancer, changes in your breasts, stages of breast cancer, types of surgery for breast cancer, and more.
- NIH: Breast Cancer Risk Calculator — Use this tool in consultation with a clinician to better understand your risk for developing breast cancer in five years, as well as during your lifetime. Women are encouraged to discuss their personal risk factors for breast cancer with their care provider team. *
- CDC — You can review CDC's website for basic information on breast cancer screening, diagnosis, and treatment. *
The Women Veterans Call Center is your guide to women's health
If you have questions or can't find what you're looking for, you can call, text, or chat online with the Women Veterans Call Center (WVCC) at 855-829-6636 to get help and find available resources and services in your area. Trained women representatives can also:
WVCC representatives are available Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. ET, and Saturday, 8:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. ET.
* By clicking on these links, you will leave the Department of Veterans Affairs website.
† VA does not endorse and is not responsible for the content of the linked website.