Friday, June 14, 2024


A serious topic requires a direct approach, so no clever opening. Stolen, I mean acquired (Marines don’t steal), from a March 8, 2024, VA press release. news.va.gov/press-room/va-ex­pands-health-care-benefits-veterans-cancer/

The VA announced several critical new steps to ex­pand preventive services, health care, and bene­fits for Veterans with cancer:

In the next 90 days, VA is making urethral cancers (downstream side of the bladder) presump­ed for service connection for eligible Gulf War and post-9/11 Veterans who deployed (refer to the VA website for locations). These Veterans will not need to prove that their service caused their urethral cancer to receive benefits for it; instead, VA will automatically assume service connec­tion and provide benefits accordingly to Veter­ans who have submitted claims. In the next 90 days, urethral cancers will be added to the list of 300+ conditions considered presumptive under the PACT Act.

VA is beginning the process to formally eval­uate urinary bladder and ureteral cancers for presumptions of service connection for eligible Gulf War and post-9/11 Veterans. VA will eval­uate whether there is a relationship between urinary bladder and ureteral cancers and toxic exposures for Gulf War and post-9/11 Veterans who deployed (refer to the VA website for locations).

The VA will then determine whether these conditions become presumptive conditions for Veterans who served in those locations and time periods.

VA is expanding access to genetic, lung, and colorectal cancer screening for Veterans, which will be offered by the end of 2024. Adding a lung cancer screening program to every VA medical facility will help save lives of nearly 5,000 Veter­ans who die from lung cancer every year.VA will expand screening for colorectal cancer – the sec­ond leading cause of cancer death in America – by providing more than 1 million Veterans nation­wide with convenient, safe, and effective tests that can be completed in the comfort of their homes.

VA continues to expand the reach of smoking cessation services to Veterans across the nation. As the 1-855-QUIT-VET tobacco quitline and the SmokefreeVET text message program pass their 10-year anniversaries of service, VA will add at least six additional sites to the Quit VET eReferral program by the end of 2024, expanding its capacity to offer Veteran-specific, tailored tobacco use treat­ment.

This work is a part of fulfilling President Biden’s Unity Agenda and Cancer Moonshot and VA’s aggressive efforts to provide world-class care for over one million Veterans on the cancer care con­tinuum, from screening to survivorship.

VA has also prioritized claims processing for Veterans with cancer — delivering nearly $516 million in PACT Act benefits to Veterans with cancer between August 10, 2022 and March 3, 2024. And VA has screened more than 5 million Veterans for toxic exposures under the PACT Act.

Brad Anderson and Melissa Crandall are the Lake County Veterans Service Officers and can be reached at 218.834.8326 or cvso@co.lake.mn.us.

Karen Christianson is the Cook County Veterans Service Officer and can be reached at 218.387.3639, or karen.christianson@co.cook.mn.us.

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