Veterans Waiting For Cancer Care

In Creating Happiness, Recent Posts by Barbara Jacoby

Veteran Cancer FeatureLast July, I came across an article that addressed the wait that veterans are having when it comes to diagnosis and treatment of suspected cancers. I must say that although I have heard stories over the years about the lack of care and attention received at veterans’ facilities all over this country, I just didn’t pay very much attention to what was being said. But as I spend more time learning about medical care, and in particular cancer care, I can’t ignore how we are treating our veterans especially after what they have done to keep all of safe and protected.

I don’t understand why our veterans are not receiving at least as good of care and treatment as the private sector. The majority of us look at the members of our armed services as our heroes. Most of us could never begin to imagine putting our own lives on the line in service to our fellow countrymen. We look at these brave people and thank them for the service they have given to all of us so that we have the freedoms that we often take for granted. We have even declared a national holiday in honor of our veterans which we celebrate each year on November 11th.

As I contemplated the approach of this holiday next week, I went back to re-read that article that I had seen some three months ago and as I did so, the impact of how our veterans are being treated hit me even harder this time. How do we justify just turning our heads the other way and pretending that this inequity doesn’t exist? How do we allow our government to treat our heroes on a level below that which those who work in the private sector? Is it a matter of money? Is it arrogance? Is it because we don’t have someone in our family who is serving on active duty in the military or has served our country and given their life in the line of duty? I can’t answer these questions but the answers just don’t matter anymore. It is time for action.

But, I can’t do this alone. We need to put together our own army to fight for the rights of our military personnel to receive timely medical attention and diagnoses and treatments. We need to provide at least the same access to rapid assessments, diagnoses, surgeries and every other treatment that we expect for ourselves. To those who think it is too expensive, I suggest that you take another look and realize that there is absolutely no reason for this to be the case than it is for medical care covered by private insurance companies. Our government has more than enough money to fund every little program that is of no importance to the health and welfare of its people, especially those who are protecting them, so finances should never even be a consideration.

I believe that starting this Veterans’ Day, we should all say “thank you” to our troops by working to protect them and their health and their families by giving back to them through the best healthcare that we can possibly manage. Every single diagnosis of the possibility of cancer should be immediately addressed and the patient should not be made to wait months let alone even weeks in order for a determination to be made. We need to honor our heroes by letting them know that just because they may no longer be on active duty that changes nothing about what they have dedicated themselves to do in the past. And mostly, I would like for us, when we reach Veterans’ Day, 2015 to be able to thank our veterans by giving them the very best cancer care they could have ever imagined. I know that working together, we can do this.