We have presented a number of prior posts about cancer prevention. Now, we turn to cancer prevention and veterans.


Advice from the VA: Cancer Prevention and Veterans

Recently, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs published a three-part series on this topic. Overseen by Courtney Franchio, a Program Manager with the VA’s National Oncology Program. To access the full articles, click on the three titles below.

Part One: Lower Your Risk Today

Cancer prevention starts with healthy living, including eating healthy, maintaining a healthy weight and reducing your overall stress. Cancer prevention can also come in the form of certain vaccinations. It’s equally important to understand your history of environmental exposures so you can understand your individual risk. But what are things you can do today to reduce your cancer risk?

  • Stopping smoking is one of the best ways to lower your overall cancer risk. One out of every three cancer deaths in the U.S. is related to cigarette smoking.
  • Scheduling regular check-ups to make sure cancer screenings take place is one way to catch or prevent cancer. Your provider can answer questions on what screening tests makes sense for you.
  • Choosing VA for your cancer care. VA is focused on helping Veterans with cancer live better lives. VA providers work hard to ensure the proper cancer screening takes place, and if necessary, work to find the best treatments for your cancer care needs.

Part Two: Vaccines Can Help

Lifestyle factors like exercise and healthy eating are very important. And lifestyle changes can have a big impact on preventing cancer. However, there are ways to be proactive about your cancer risks as well.

One easy way to be proactive is to discuss cancer-preventing vaccines with your primary care provider. Vaccines are safe, effective and can lower your cancer risk.

Virtually all people are exposed to the human papilloma virus (HPV) during their lifetime. For some people, HPV can cause cervical cancer, vaginal, vulvar, anal, penile, and oral cancers. Virtually all cervical cancers are caused by HPV. And, HPV is thought to cause 70% of mouth and throat cancers. Being vaccinated against HPV reduces your cervical cancer risk by 90%.

Part Three: What Are Your Exposure Risks?

We know lifestyle factors land genetic influences may affect your cancer risk. Successful cancer prevention strategies address these factors.

But what about military environmental exposures? Many Veterans worry about a wide range of military environmental and occupational exposures. In part 3, you will discover some of these exposures and cancer risks.

Disclosing where, when, and how long you served and what you got exposed to helps your provider understand how to best screen you for different types of cancer.


Health Resources from the VA

For more resources, click the image below.


Leave a Reply