Study: VA Hospitals Increase Survival Rates of Older Cancer Patients

Veterans & Military
Reading Time: 3 mins
Publication Date: 03/19/2012
Fact Checked
Our fact-checking process begins with a thorough review of all sources to ensure they are high quality. Then we cross-check the facts with original medical or scientific reports published by those sources, or we validate the facts with reputable news organizations, medical and scientific experts and other health experts. Each page includes all sources for full transparency.
Reviewed

Asbestos.com is the nation’s most trusted mesothelioma resource

The Mesothelioma Center at Asbestos.com has provided patients and their loved ones the most updated and reliable information on mesothelioma and asbestos exposure since 2006.

Our team of Patient Advocates includes a medical doctor, a registered nurse, health services administrators, veterans, VA-accredited Claims Agents, an oncology patient navigator and hospice care expert. Their combined expertise means we help any mesothelioma patient or loved one through every step of their cancer journey.

More than 30 contributors, including mesothelioma doctors, survivors, health care professionals and other experts, have peer-reviewed our website and written unique research-driven articles to ensure you get the highest-quality medical and health information.

About The Mesothelioma Center at Asbestos.com

  • Assisting mesothelioma patients and their loved ones since 2006.
  • Helps more than 50% of mesothelioma patients diagnosed annually in the U.S.
  • A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau.
  • 5-star reviewed mesothelioma and support organization.
Learn More About Us

Testimonials

"My family has only the highest compliment for the assistance and support that we received from The Mesothelioma Center. This is a staff of compassionate and knowledgeable individuals who respect what your family is experiencing and who go the extra mile to make an unfortunate diagnosis less stressful. Information and assistance were provided by The Mesothelioma Center at no cost to our family."
Lashawn
Mesothelioma patient’s daughter
  • Google Review Rating
  • BBB Review Rating

How to Cite Asbestos.com’s Article

APA

Hall, M. (2021, September 14). Study: VA Hospitals Increase Survival Rates of Older Cancer Patients. Asbestos.com. Retrieved October 7, 2022, from https://www.asbestos.com/news/2012/03/19/study-va-hospitals-increase-survival-rates-of-older-cancer-patients/

MLA

Hall, Mark. "Study: VA Hospitals Increase Survival Rates of Older Cancer Patients." Asbestos.com, 14 Sep 2021, https://www.asbestos.com/news/2012/03/19/study-va-hospitals-increase-survival-rates-of-older-cancer-patients/.

Chicago

Hall, Mark. "Study: VA Hospitals Increase Survival Rates of Older Cancer Patients." Asbestos.com. Last modified September 14, 2021. https://www.asbestos.com/news/2012/03/19/study-va-hospitals-increase-survival-rates-of-older-cancer-patients/.

Older cancer patients who receive treatment at veterans’ hospitals are getting equal, if not better, treatment than patients at fee-for-service Medicare hospitals, according to a new study.

The report, published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, describes improved survival rates among older male cancer patients who go through the Veterans Health Administration (VHA), compared to similar patients who receive treatments through Medicare.

For mesothelioma patients, who tend to be older male veterans, the results of this study may provide direction as to where the best facilities are to receive treatments.

Mesothelioma is a rare cancer of the lining of the lungs, most commonly caused by asbestos exposure. About one-third of all patients with this disease are veterans, either because they were exposed to asbestos while in the military or because they held jobs after leaving the service that exposed them to asbestos.

Because cancer treatments are often limited for older patients because of what they can tolerate physically, selecting hospitals that yield the most favorable outcomes can be a life-or-death matter for some patients.

Results from the Study

In the study, researchers analyzed older male cancer patient’s chances of surviving various cancers, based on receiving treatment at a VHA hospital or a traditional fee-for-service hospital.

The cancers that were reviewed include colon, rectal, lung, lymphoma or bone marrow cancer. Patient results were monitored between 2001 and 2004.

Results showed encouraging news for the hospitals within the Department of Veteran’s Affairs.

Older patients with colon cancer who received treatment at the VHA survived at an average rate of four years and one month, while the same group survived three years and seven months when receiving treatment at Medicare-accepting facilities.

“It seems like the VA is doing a good job of taking care of veterans, which is obviously a good story,” said Mary Beth Landrum, the lead author of the study.

Lung cancer patients observed similar results.

Patients who were diagnosed with lung cancer and were treated by the VHA lived eight months after diagnosis, on average, while only surviving six months after diagnosis, at regular hospitals treated with Medicare.

Some believe that the study results are a testament to the various changes that were conducted throughout the VHA. Adjustments within this health system, which began in the 1990s, have resulted in the strengthening of preventative care and more coordinated efforts among organizational departments.

The Veterans Health Administration is tasked with caring for over 6 million veterans. According to a report from Reuters Health, many of veterans that receive care through this program tend to be African Americans and veterans from poor communities.

Veterans Should Receive the Best Care

After any amount of service that was dedicated to their nation, veterans of all military branches deserve the highest level of care and treatment. Unfortunately, some veterans are affected in disproportionate ways because of external factors.

Navy veterans often face unique health challenges because many of the environmental hazards that they were exposed to throughout their career, including asbestos and other toxins.

Working aboard naval ships, which were known for widespread use of asbestos, thousands of navy veterans have been affected by asbestos-related diseases like mesothelioma, lung cancer, asbestosis, pleural plaques and others.

Free Mesothelioma Guide
Comprehensive Information for Veterans with Mesothelioma