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Research Letter
November 30, 2016

Trends in Surgical Treatment of Breast Cancer in the Veterans Affairs System

Author Affiliations
  • 1Division of Plastic Surgery, Department of Surgery, Indiana University, Indianapolis
  • 2Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio
  • 3Louis Stokes Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Cleveland, Ohio
  • 4R.L. Roudebush Veterans Affairs Medical Center Indianapolis, Indiana
JAMA Surg. Published online November 30, 2016. doi:10.1001/jamasurg.2016.3191

One in 8 women will be diagnosed as having invasive breast cancer during their lifetime.1 The demand for women’s health services and the rapidly growing body of knowledge of breast cancer has led to numerous advances in diagnosis, treatment, and reconstruction. Women will make up approximately 10% of the Veterans Affairs (VA) health care system by 2020 and 15% by 2030.2 As more of these women become military veterans, the need for women’s health services, including breast cancer treatment, in the VA health care system will grow. Oncologic resection and reconstruction are critical components in breast cancer therapy, and different approaches in surgical treatment will continue to evolve. Being at the forefront of innovation and improvement in breast cancer treatment will allow the VA health care system to provide quality care to all veterans. This study was designed to investigate the increasing need for breast surgery in the VA and trends in surgical approaches.

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