Cancer prevention and veterans: reduce your cancer risk today

This is the first blog post in a three-part series on cancer prevention among veterans.

Cancer prevention starts with healthy living, including healthy eating, maintaining a healthy weight, and reducing your overall stress. Cancer prevention can also take the form of certain vaccines. It is equally important to understand your history of environmental exposures in order to understand your individual risk.

But what are the things you can do today to reduce your risk of cancer?

Reduce your overall cancer risk with a lifestyle change

Quitting smoking is one of the best ways to reduce your overall cancer risk. One in three cancer deaths in the United States is related to smoking.

Smoking is linked to many types of cancer, including the following:

  • Lung.
  • Mouth and throat.
  • Pancreas.
  • Bladder.
  • Kidney.
  • Colon and rectum.
  • Cervical.

If you smoke, the risk of lung cancer is 15 to 30 times higher than someone who has never smoked cigarettes. In fact, one of the best ways to prevent cervical cancer is to quit smoking. After 20 years of quitting smoking, your risk of cervical cancer drops by 50%.

If you need help quitting smoking, every VA medical center offers quit smoking counseling and medication. For more information, visit How to Quit Smoking, an online resource to help veterans quit smoking.

Schedule a cancer screening

Scheduling regular checkups to make sure cancer screenings are taking place is one way to catch or prevent cancer. Your provider can answer questions about which screening tests are right for you.

Screening tests are used to look for cancer before there are any noticeable signs. Regular cancer screenings can increase your chances of finding cancer early when treatment is most likely to be successful.

If you’re curious about what’s best for you and what you might want to talk to a supplier about, visit:

Choosing VA for your cancer care

VA aims to help veterans with cancer live better lives. VA providers work hard to ensure that appropriate cancer screening takes place and, if necessary, strive to find the best treatments for your cancer care needs. All VA providers stand side-by-side with veterans and support them through every step of their cancer journey.

For more information, visit or email [email protected]

Cancer prevention during COVID-19

Although COVID-19 is an ongoing concern, VA is taking precautions at all VA medical centers to protect you from the virus. Early detection of cancer is an important part of successful treatment. Therefore, regular appointments and cancer screenings are essential to the health of veterans.

Since January 18, 2022, the U.S. government has made COVID-19 home testing kits available to every household. To learn more and order your at-home COVID-19 tests, go to

Comments are closed.