Overview of Health Services for Women
Women Veterans represent a diverse range of individuals, including professionals, mothers, and retirees — spanning different ages, racial backgrounds, ethnicities, gender identities, and sexual orientations. At VA, your women's health care team is dedicated to treating you as an individual and supporting your well-being throughout every stage of your life.
What resources and services does VA provide for health and wellness?
- Comprehensive Primary Care is the place to start for preventive care and treatment of any short- or long-term illness. Women's Health primary care providers and their teams take care of your general medical needs and can refer you to other needed or specialty services.
- Cancer Screenings: Screening for cancer is a critical part of primary health care. VA encourages all Veterans to discuss their specific risk factors with their providers to develop the best screening schedule. For those without any personal or family history of concern, the list below is a helpful guideline for when you should complete your preventive cancer screenings.
- Breast cancer: Women with average risk of breast cancer should get a screening mammogram every year starting at age 45. The screening interval may be increased to every 2 years after age 55 for women with average risk. Some women may be advised by their providers to start screening mammograms at age 40 or sooner depending on their breast cancer risk.
- Cervical cancer: Women should receive pap tests starting at age 21 to screen for cervical cancer. Pap tests are repeated every 3 years until age 30 and then Pap tests and/or Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) testing are repeated every 3 or 5 years depending on which tests are used to screen. For average risk women, cervical cancer screening is not recommended after age 65.
- Colon cancer: Screening for colon cancer starts at age 45 for those with average risk factors. Talk to your provider about which colon cancer test is the best for you.
- Lung cancer: Screening for lung cancer is recommended at age 50 with yearly low-dose CT scans for women who have previously smoked a pack a day for 20 years and are still smoking or quit within the past 15 years.
- Skin cancer: Skin cancer is the leading form of cancer in the U.S., but if caught early, most skin cancers can be cured.
- General Health Screenings: These screenings may be needed, depending on your age, health, and history.
- Blood pressure
- Hepatitis C, HIV, and sexually transmitted infections (STI)
- Osteoporosis for women with average risk at age 65
- Abdominal aortic aneurysm if you smoke or did smoke cigarettes
- Immunizations are part of routine health care. VA encourages all Veterans to discuss the following vaccines with their primary providers to find out which ones may be a healthy choice for you:
- Flu shot
- Human Papillomavirus (HPV)
- Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV)
- Lung health: Women Veterans who have concerns about their respiratory health or airborne hazard exposures should discuss these concerns with their provider teams.
- Military exposures: Veterans who may have been exposed to chemical, physical, or environmental hazards during military service can read about possible related health conditions. Veterans may also want to enroll in the Environmental Health Registry Evaluation for Veterans. It is a free, voluntary medical assessment for Veterans who may have been exposed to certain environmental hazards during military service. Click here to speak with an Environmental Health Coordinator.
- Whole Health: Whole Health is VA's cutting-edge approach to care that supports your health and well-being. Whole Health centers around what matters to you, not what is the matter with you. This means your health team will get to know you as a person, before working with you to develop a personalized health plan based on your values, needs, and goals. Whole Health includes complementary and alternative medicine such as meditation, tai chi, yoga, massage, acupuncture, and therapies such as art, music, and equine therapy (therapy that involves activities with horses).
Where can I find more information and resources on health and wellness?
How do I access services for health and wellness at VA?
If you don't already use VA health care, you may want to use the following online tools:
Find out if you are eligible for VA health care
Enroll in VA health care if you haven't already
Find your local VA and make an appointment
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:
- Provide you with information on enrolling in VA health care if you have not already
- Provide you with information on setting up a medical appointment in your area
- Provide you with information about your eligibility (including questions about disability ratings) and other VA benefits like employment, education, and home loans
- Connect you with your local VA Medical Center or local women's health contact who can assist in coordinating all the services you need
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.