This project aims to describe the demographics of Veterans diagnosed with breast and gynecologic cancers and assess differences compared to the general population.
With an increasing number of women Veterans enrolling in the VA, it is crucial for oncologists to be prepared to provide care for VeterS32 • SEPTEMBER 2023 www.mdedge.com/fedprac/avaho NOTES ans diagnosed with breast and gynecologic cancers. Despite the rising incidence of these cancers among Veterans, there is limited characterization of the demographic profile of this population. Understanding the unique characteristics of Veterans with these malignancies, distinct from the general population, is essential for the Veterans Administration (VA) to develop programs and enhance care for these patients.
Consult records from the VA Corporate Data Warehouse between January 1, 2021, and December 31, 2022, were analyzed to identify Veterans with newly diagnosed breast, uterine, ovarian, cervical, and vulvovaginal cancer. Demographic were evaluated. Data on the general population were obtained data from SEER (Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results) 19 database for 2020.
A total of 3,304 Veterans diagnosed with breast cancer and 918 Veterans with gynecologic cancers were identified (uterine, n = 365; cervical, n = 344, ovarian, n = 177; vulvovaginal, n = 32). Veterans were found to be younger than the general population, with a mean age at diagnosis of 59 for Veterans with breast cancer to 63 for non-veterans. Among those with gynecologic cancers, the mean age at diagnosis for Veterans was 55 compared to 61 for non-veterans. Male breast cancer cases were more prevalent among Veterans, accounting for 11% in the VA compared to 1% in SEER. The Veteran cohort also displayed a higher proportion of Black patients, with 30% of breast cancer cases in the VA being Black compared to 12% in SEER.
Veterans diagnosed with breast and gynecologic cancers exhibit unique demographic characteristics compared to the general population. They tend to be younger and have a higher representation of Black patients. The incidence of male breast cancer is notably higher among Veterans. As the prevalence of these cancer types continue to rise among Veterans, it is vital for oncologists to be aware of and adequately address the unique health needs of this population. These findings emphasize the importance of tailored strategies and programs to provide optimal care for Veterans with breast and gynecologic cancers.