HELENA — The Department of Veteran Affairs reports an estimated 700 veterans are diagnosed with breast cancer each year, and the Montana VA wants to remind veterans to get their annual exams.
“Folks that are in the military, male and female are about 40% more likely to potentially have breast cancer and those type of issues and it revolves around the environments that they end up in, whether it's burn pits, chemicals, toxins, those, kind of things that increases their chances versus those folks that weren't in the military,” said Montana VA Hospital Women Veteran Program Manager Sue Calentine.
Calentine says this Breast Cancer Awareness Month is the perfect time to book your annual exam and mammogram, especially if you were unable to receive one last year due to COVID.
“I think a lot of folks sometimes forget they get busy, COVID is really throwing everybody off, and so this is just a reminder for everybody that the month of October is your time to either make sure you've had it to get your appointment or that you see your provider,” said Calentine.
For those who missed last year's exam, the Montana VA hospital has checked in on them. “We went back, double-checked all those folks that we never saw when we should have to make it encourage them to make sure that they get in this year,” said Calentine.
Calentine also wants to remind everyone to do a self-breast examination regardless of gender. "Every woman and male should do a self-breast exam every month."