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Hassan-Backed Bill to Enhance Veteran Breast Cancer Care Signed into Law

WASHINGTON—President Joe Biden signed into law a bill, cosponsored by U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan, a member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, to strengthen breast cancer detection for women veterans.

“Women veterans who served in areas associated with burn pits and other toxic exposures can be at serious risk for developing breast cancer,” said Senator Hassan. “After sacrificing to protect our freedoms, veterans deserve the best quality care for any health conditions that they might have developed because of their service. Preventative screenings are essential tools in combating breast cancer, and I know that this bill will make a real difference in helping women veterans lead healthy lives.”

The Dr. Kate Hendricks Thomas Supporting Expanded Review for Veterans in Combat Environments (SERVICE) Act will require the VA to conduct mammograms for all women who served in areas associated with burn pits and other toxic exposures regardless of age, symptoms or family history.

The bill is named in honor of Dr. Kate Hendricks Thomas, a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps who was unaware of her increased risk for breast cancer as a result of her 2005 deployment to Fallujah, Iraq. She was subsequently diagnosed with stage four breast cancer at the age of 38 and passed away in April of 2022.

Senator Hassan is working across the aisle on the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee to help ensure that veterans, service members, and their families have the support that they need to thrive. The Senate is currently working to pass comprehensive legislation that Senator Hassan and colleagues developed to deliver to all generations of veterans exposed to toxic substances the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) health care and benefits that they need. This package includes provisions introduced by Senator Hassan.

Additionally, the bipartisan veterans package that was signed into law last year included the Deborah Sampson Act, which Senator Hassan joined in introducing and eliminates barriers to care and services that many women veterans face to help ensure that the VA can address the needs of women veterans.