AUGUSTA, Ga (WJBF)- It’s “Breast Cancer Awareness” month and hospitals all over the area are campaigning to remind women to get their annual mammogram.
Wednesday, the Augusta VA hospital is hosting a “Breast Cancer Rodeo” to encourage female veterans to get their breast health screening.
Breast cancer is the second deadliest cancer for women in the United States. 1 in 8 U.S women will develop the disease over the course of their lifetime and the VA wants to make sure its female veterans stay healthy.
Breast cancer affects both men and women, but the VA says women vets are most impacted by the disease.
A CDC study shows that female veterans and service members are about 40 percent more at risk for breast cancer than civilians. Some possible reasons for those alarming statistics are more exposure to toxins and higher stress levels.
“Our American veterans have served all over the world. They have served in burn pits. They have served in different campaigns all across the United States and overseas where they have been exposed to different chemicals that have made them more susceptible to getting breast cancer,” explained Kutistia Ragland, a Mammography Team Lead at the uptown VA hospital.
With more than 2 million female veterans in the U.S., the VA wants to make sure they are serving the unique health needs of women, who they say are one of the fastest growing veteran groups in the country.
“That spirit and heart for service, never leaves them. So they spend a lot of time serving others and sometimes they put themselves on the back burner,” said Ragland. “You may have put yourself aside, but this is your time to take care of yourself. And it’s a loving thing you can do for yourself. It’s an important thing you can do for yourself, because mammography saves lives.”
If you are a veteran registered for care with the VA you don’t need an appointment. Just stop by and get your screening.
The “Breast Cancer Rodeo” is happening Wednesday, October 25 from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the VA Hospital at 1 Freedom Way, Augusta.
Photojournalist: Will Baker.